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The presentation, in a permanent form, of the history 
of the Ojibways is appropriate for the Minnesota Historical 
Society. Two hundred years ago the warriors of this 
people, by way of the river, in the State of Wisconsin, 
which still bears their name, sought their foes in the valley 
of the Mississippi. A century later, they had pushed out 
the Dakotas or Sioux from their old hunting-grounds in 
the Mille Lacs region of Minnesota, and at the time of the 
adoption of the Constitution of the United States of Ame- 
rica were trapping, fishing, and making maple sugar on the 
shores of Red, Leech, and Sandy Lakes. While the Sioux 
and Winnebago Tribes have been removed to the Valley 
of the Missouri River, the Ojibways remain on or near cer- 
tain reservations in Northern Minnesota. 

The Society has been fortunate in receiving as a gift, 
from a former United States Senator, Henry M. Rice, the 
manuscript history of the Ojibways, based upon traditional 
and oral statements written by the late William W. "War- 
ren, some of whose ancestors had been distinguished chief- 
tains of the tribe, and by its publication hopes to give some 
aid to the increasing number of students of the aboriginal 
races of America. Traditions gathered in the wigwams 




of those who, until recently, had no mode of preserving 
knowledge, for coming generations, necessarily lack preci- 
sion of statement ; and the old story-tellers of a tribe un- 
consciously repeat as ideas of their race, those which have 
been obtained by intercourse with white men. Sir William 
Johnson, Bt., British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
more than a hundred years ago, in a letter to the distin- 
guished Virginian, Arthur Lee, M.D., F.R.S., wrote: 
" Relying solely on oral traditions for the support of their 
ancient usages they have blended some, with customs 
amongst ourselves, so as to render it exceedingly difficult, 
if not almost impossible, to trace their customs to their 

Prefixed to Mr. Warren's work has been placed a sketch 
of his life, and as a supplement has been added another 
article on the Ojibways, based upon official and other 
records. The intelligent reader will not be surprised by 
the discrepancies which he will notice between the tradi- 
tional and documentary history. 

Hoping that the Society, at no distant day, may issue a 
similar history of the Dakota people, this volume is sub- 
mitted by the 

Committee of Publication. 




Memoir of William W. Warren, by J. Fletcher Williams 7 

History of the Ojibways, based upon Traditions and 

Oral Statements, by William W. Warren ... 21 

History of the Ojibways, and their Connection with 
Fur Traders, based upon Official and other Records, 

by Edward D. Neill 395 

Officers of the Society 511 

Members of the Society 513 

Index 519 










William Whipple Warren, whose work follows, was 
a descendant of Richard Warren, one of the "Mayflower'' 
pilgrims, who landed at Plymouth in 1620. From this 
ancestor a large proportion of the persons bearing the 
name of Warren, in the United States, have descended. 
General Joseph Warren, who fell at Bunker Hill, was the 
descendant of a collateral line of the family. Abraham 
Warren, a descendant of Eichard, born September 25, 
1747, fought in the Revolutionary War, as did also his 
son, Stephen. Lyman Warren, son of Abraham, was 
born in Hartford, Connecticut, May 25, 1771, and was 
married in Berkshire, Massachusetts, to Mercy Whipple. 

Their son, Lyman Marquis Warren, father of the subject 
of this memoir, was born at the latter place, Aug. 9, 1794. 
He came to the Lake Superior region in 1818, with his 
brother Truman A., younger than himself, to engage in 
the fur trade. The IT. S. srovernment having some time 
before enacted that no one, not a citizen of the United 
States, should engage in the fur trade, the British sub- 
jects, who were engaged in that trade, employed American 
clerks to take charge of their posts. The Warren brothers 
entered the service of Michel Cadotte, an old trader among 
the Ojibways at La Pointe, and soon became great favor- 
ites with the Ojibways. In 1821, each of the brothers 
married a daughter of Cadotte, and in 1823, the latter 
sold out all his trading outfit to them, and retired from 




the business. Truman Warren did not live long afUr 
this. He died on board a vessel on Lake Superior in 1825, 
from pneumonia, resulting from the hardship and exposure 
incident to a trader's life. Rev. Alfred Brunson, in his 
autobiographical reminiscences, entitled " A Western 
Pioneer/' states that u Lyman M, "Warren traded for 
several years in the Lac du Flambeau, Lac Coutereille and 
Saint Croix Departments, in opposition to the American 
Fur Company. He then entered into an arrangement 
with them and took charge of those thiee departments as 
partner and chief factor under a salary, making his depot 
at La Pointe. This arrangement continued until 1834." 
La Pointe appears to have been his permanent residence 
until his death. , 

The Cadottes, into which family the Warren brothers 
married, were descendants of a Mons. Cadeau, who, it is 
stated, came to the Ojibway country in 1671, in the train 
of the French envoy, Sieur de St. Lusson. 1 His son, John 
Baptiste Cadotte (as the name was then and subsequently 
spelled) became a trader among the Ojibways, and was en- 
gaged for a time with Alexander Henry, who in his work 
mentions him very frequently. He was married by a 
Catholic priest to an Ojibway woman of the A-waus-e clan, 
and made his residence at Sault Ste Marie. Mrs. Cadotte 
is described by Henry as being a woman of great energy 
and tact, and force of character. She aided her husband 
in his trading operations, sometimes undertaking long 
expeditions with coureurs du bois for him. She bore him 
two sons, John Baptiste Cadotte, Jr., and Michel Cadotte, 
who also became traders among the Ojibways, and were 
men of energy and ability in their calling. Both of them 
were well educated and had great influence in the Lake 
Superior region, and northwest, where they were well 

1 The full name and title of this officer, as given in a document in The 
Margry Papers, vol. i. p. 96, is Simon-Francis Daumont, Sieur de St. Lutson. 



known. Both J. B. and Michel Cadotte married Ojibway 
women, the latter the daughter of White Crane, heredi- 
tary chief of La Pointe village. Their descendants are 
quite numerous, and are scattered throughout the north- 
west. Michel Cadotte died at La Pointe in 1836, set. 72 
years. Though he had once made large profits in the fur 
trade and was wealthy, he died poor, a result of the usual 
improvidence which that kind of life engenders, and of his 
generosity to his Indian relatives. 

In 1821, as before remarked, Lyman M. Warren married 
Mary, daughter of Michel Cadotte. The ceremony was 
performed by one of the missionaries at Mackinaw. Rev. 
A. Brunson, in his work before quoted, says of Mrs. War- 
ren : u She was three-fourths Indian. She was an excellent 
cook, and a neat housekeeper, though she could not speak 
a word of English." Mrs. Elizabeth T. Aver, of Belle 
Prairie, Minn., widow of Rev. Frederic Ayer, the mission- 
ary, states that " she was a woman of fine natural abilities, 
a good mother, though without the advantages of any 
education. They raised a large family. The children had, 
added to more than common intelligence, a large amount 
of go-ahead-ativeness." Mrs. Warren was a believer in the 
Catholic faith. Mr. Warren, however, was an adherent 
of the common evangelical belief, and a member of the 
Presbyterian Church. Rev. Wm. T. Boutwell, the first 
missionary at Leech Lake, still living in Washington 
County, Minnesota, near Stillwater, says : " I knew him 
as a good Christian man, and as one desirous of giving his 
children the benefits of a Christian education." Mrs. Ayer 
says : a He was among the first to invite American mission- 
aries into the region of Lake Superior, and he assisted them 
as he had opportunity, not only by his influence, but some- 
times by his purse. He united with the mission church 
at Mackinaw, where he was married." Rev. Mr. Brunson, 
who visited him in 1843, says : " Mr. Warren had a large 



and select library, an unexpected sight in an Indian country, 
containing some books that I had never before seen." 

After dissolving his connection with the American Fur 
Company, probably about the year 1838, he removed to 
the Chippewa River, Wisconsin, where he had been ap- 
pointed as farmer, blacksmith, and sub-agent to the Ojib- 
ways, in that reservation. He located his post at a point a 
few miles above Chippewa Falls, at a place now known as 
Chippewa City. Here, in connection with Jean Brunett, he 
built a saw-mill and opened a farm, which was soon fur- 
nished with commodious buildings. His wife died there 
July 21, 1843, and the following winter he took her remains 
to La Pointe for interment. Mr. Warren died at La Pointe, 
Oct. 10, 1847, set. 53. Of the eight children born to them, 
two died in infancy. Truman A. is now interpreter at 
White Earth Agency, Minn., and Mary, now Mrs. English, 
is a teacher at the Red Lake Mission School. Charlotte, 
Julia, and Sophia are married, and live on White Earth 
Reservation. Of William, their oldest son, we now propose 
to give a brief memoir. 

William Whipple Warren was born at La Pointe, May 
27, 1825. In his very earliest childhood, he learned to 
talk the Ojibway language, from playing with the Indian 
children. His father took every means to give him a good 
English education. Rev. Mr. Boutwell says : " In the 
winter of 1832, he was a pupil at my Indian School at La 
Pointe." He subsequently attended, for awhile, the mission 
school at Mackinaw, when he was only eight years old. In 
the summer of 1836, his grandfather. Lyman Warren, of 
New York, visited La Pointe, and on his return home took 
William with him to Clarkson, Xew York, w^here he at- 
tended school for two years, and afterwards, from 1838 to 
1841, attended the Oneida Institute at Whitesborough, 
near Utica, a school then in charge of Rev. Beriah Green, 
a man noted for his anti-slavery Views. William remained 



there until 1841, when he was sixteen years of age, and 
acquired a good scholastic training. He was then, and 
always subsequently, greatly devoted to reading, and read 
everything which he could get, with avidity. " While at 
school" (says one who knew him well) " he was greatly 
beloved for his amiable disposition, and genial, happy 
manners. He was always full of life, cheerfulness, and 
sociability, and insensibly attracted all who associated 
with him." 

During his absence from home, he had, by disuse, for- 
gotten some of the Ojib way tongue, but soon became again 
familiar with it, and acquired a remarkable command of 
it. Speaking it fluently, and being connected with influ- 
ential families of the tribe, he was always a welcome and 
petted guest at their lodge-fire circles, and it was here that 
his taste and fondness for the legends and traditions of 
the Ojib ways were fostered. He speaks in his work of his 
love for the " loctee stories and legends of mv Indian grand- 
fathers, around whose lodge-fires I have passed many a 
winter evening, listening with parted lips and open ears 
to their interesting and most forcibly told tales." He was 
fond, too, of telling to the Indians stories which he had 
learned in his reading, and would for hours translate to 
them narratives from the Bible, and Arabian Nights, fairy 
stories, and other tales calculated to interest them. In 
return for this, they would narrate the legends of their 
race, and thus he obtained those traditions which he has, 
with such skill, woven into his book. He was always a 
great favorite with the Indians, not only on account of his 
relationship to them, but from his amiable and obliging 
disposition to them, and his interest in their welfare, 
being always anxious to help them in any way that he 

His familiarity with the Ojib way tongue, and his popu- 
larity with that people, probably led him to adopt the pro- 



fession of interpreter. When Rev. Alfred Brunson visited 
the Indians at La Pointe in the winter of 1842-3, on an 
embassy from the government, he selected young Warren, 
then seventeen years of age, as interpreter, and found him 
very ready and skillful. Hon. Henry M. Rice writes : 4i In 
the treaty of Fond du Lac, made by Gen. Isaac Verplank 
and myself in 1847, William was oar interpreter. (See 
Statutes at Large.) He was one of the most eloquent and 
fluent speakers I ever heard. The Indians said he under- 
stood their language better than themselves. His com- 
mand of the English language, also, was remarkable — in 
fact, musical" 

In the summer of 1842, in his eighteenth year, Mr. 
Warren was married to Miss Matilda Aitkin, daughter of 
Wm. A. Aitkin, the well-known Indian trader, who had 
been educated at the Mackinaw Mission School. It was 
during his interpretership under I. P. Hays in 1844-45, 
his relatives say, that his health began to fail. Frequent 
exposures, long and severe winter expeditions, connected 
with the Indian service at that time, brought on those lung 
troubles, which subsequently ended his life so prematurely, 
after several years of suffering. 

Warren came to what is now Minnesota, with his 
family, in the fall of 1845, first living at Crow Wing and 
Gull Lake, where he was employed as farmer and inter- 
preter, by Major J. E. Fletcher, Winnebago agent, then 
also in charge of the Mississippi Qjibways. He was also 
employed as interpreter in the attempted removal of the 
Lake Superior Indians under J. S. Watrous — an act which 
he did not, however, approve of. After a year or two he 
established a home at Two Rivers, now in Morrison Co. 
In the fall of 1850, he was nominated and elected as a 
member of the Legislature from the district in which he 
lived — a district embracing more than one-half the present 
area of the State. In Jauuary following (1851), he ap- 



peared at St. Paul, and took his seat as a member of the 
House of Representatives. Up to this time he had been 
quite unknown to the public men and pioneers of the 
Territory, but by his engaging manners, and frank, candid 
disposition, soon won a large circle of friends. 

Col. D. A. Robertson, of St. Paul, contributes the follow- 
ing reminiscence of Mr. Warren at this period : w I became 
acquainted w T ith young Warren in the fall of 1850. I had 
shortly before established in St. Paul 4 The Minnesota 
Democrat' newspaper. At the date mentioned, some one 
introduced Mr. Warren to me, and wishing to learn what 
I could regarding the customs, belief, and history of the 
Ojibways, I questioned him on these points, and he very 
lucidly and eloquently gave me the desired information. 
I was much pleased with him, and talked with him a 
great deal, at that and other times, on the subject. I was 
amazed at his information in regard to the Ojibway myths, 
as well as pleased with his style of narrative, so clear and 
graphic, which, with his musical voice, made his recitals 
realty engrossing. I asked him, S how did you get these 
myths?' He replied, from the old men of the tribe, and 
that he would go considerable distances sometimes to see 
them — that they always liked to talk with him about 
those matters, and that he would make notes of the prin- 
cipal points. He said this was a favorite pastime and pur- 
suit of his. He had not at this time, it seems, attempted 
to write out anything connected, and the matter which 
he had written down was not much more than notes, or 

" In January, 1851, Mr. Warren took his seat as a 
member of the Legislature, and I renewed my talks with 
him about the Ojibway legends. I then said to him, 
write me out some articles on this subject, to which he 
consented, and began to do so during his leisure moments, 
when not engaged in the Legislature. He had up to that 



time, probably had little or no practice in writing such 
things, but soon acquired a good style. The first of his 
papers, or articles, was printed in the Democrat, Feb. 25, 
1851, an article of several columns, entitled, ' a brief his- 
tory of the Ojibways in Minnesota, as obtained from their 
old men.' This was followed by other chapters during 
the same year. These sketches took well, and seemed to 
please all who read them. I finally suggested to him that 
if he would gather them up, and with the other material 
which he had, work them into a book, it would sell read- 
ily, and possibly secure him some profits. The idea 
seemed to please him, and I am certain it never occurred 
to him before. He at once set about it, and from time to 
time when I saw him during the next two years, he 
assured me he was making good progress. At this period 
he was in poor health and much discouraged at times, 
suffering from occasional hemorrhages, as well as from 
financial straitness. 

"During all my intercourse with Mr. Warren, for two or 
three years, I never saw the least blemish in his character. 
His habits were scrupulously correct, and his morals 
seemed unsullied. He appeared candid and truthful in 
everything, and of a most amiable disposition. Though 
about that time he was bitterly assailed by some whose 
schemes regarding the Indians he had opposed, he never 
spoke of them with any bitterness, but kindly, gently, 
and forgivingly. In fact, I never heard him speak ill of 
any one." 

Mr. Warren's widow, now Mrs. Fontaine, of White 
Earth, states that when he had once set about writing his 
projected book, he pursued his work with an ardor that 
rapidly undermined his already feeble health. He read, 
studied, and wrote early and late, whenever his official duties 
or absence from home did not prevent, and even when suffer- 
ing from pain and debility. During this period, a corres- 

warren's home at "two rivers. 1 ' 


pondent of " The Minnesota Democrat," who visited Mr. 
Warren, writes thus under date March 17, 1852 : — 

" I write you from a most lovely spot, the residence of 
my friend, Hon. W. W. Warren. Mr. Warren's house 
stands directly opposite the months of the two small rivers 
which empty into the Mississippi on the western side, a 
short distance apart, and hence the name, i Two Rivers.' 
Opposite this point, in the river, is an island of great, 
beauty of appearance. Xear by are countless sugar trees 
from which, last spring, Mr. Warren manufactured up- 
wards of one thousand pounds of fine sugar. During my 
short sojourn here, I have been the attentive listener to 
many legendary traditions connected with the Chippewas, 
which Mr. Warren has, at my request, been kind enough 
to relate. They have been to me intensely interesting. 
He appears to be perfectly familiar with the history of 

these noted Indians from time immemorial 

Their language is his own, and I am informed that he 
speaks it with even more correctness and precision than 
they do themselves. This is doubtless true. ... As 
I write, he is conversing with Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, or Flat 
Mouth, the far-famed old chief of the Pillagers. This old 
chief and warrior, now 7S years of age, has performed his 
long journey from Leech Lake, to visit ' his grandson/ as 
he calls Mr. Warren." 

Much interest was felt at this period among Mr. War- 
ren's personal friends, especially among such as had devoted 
any attention to the study of the Indian races, regarding 
his proposed publication, and he had the good wishes of 
all who knew him for its success, as well as their sym- 
pathies on account of his health and his pecuniary straits. 
In the preparation of his book, also (and he mentions this 
fact in his preface), he was much embarrassed for want of 
the works of other authors to refer to, for there were no 
public libraries in Minnesota at that time, while his lack 



of means prevented him from purchasing the desired books 
himself. It is gratifying to be able to state however, that 
some of his friends who felt an interest in him and his pro- 
posed work, generously aided him at this juncture. Among 
these should be prominently mentioned Hon. Henry M. 
Rice, to whose liberal help is probably owing the comple- 
tion of the work, and into whose hands it subsequently 
passed, to be by him ultimately donated to this Society. 

In the winter of 1852-53, Mr. Warren completed his 
manuscript, and in the latter part of the winter, proceeded 
to New York, in hopes of getting the work published 
there. He had also another object, to secure medical treat- 
ment for his rapidly failing health. In both objects he 
was doomed to disappointment. The physicians whom he 
consulted, failed to give him any relief, or but little 
encouragement, while the publishers to whom he applied 
would only agree to issue his work on the payment by him 
of a considerable sum. Believing that some of his friends 
in Minnesota, who had always expressed an interest in the 
work, might advance such aid, Mr. AVarren resolved to 
return home and lay the case before them. There is little 
doubt that had he lived to do so, he would have promptly 
secured the means required. He reached St. Paul on his 
way home, in the latter part of May, 1853, very much ex- 
hausted. He went to the residence of his sister Charlotte, 
(Mrs. E. B. Price) and was intending to start for Two 
Rivers on the morning of June 1. Earlv on the mornincr 
of that day, however, he was attacked with a violent 
hemorrhage, and in a short time expired. His funeral 
took place the following day, Rev. E. D. Xeill officiating, 
and the remains were laid to rest in the cemetery at St. 

Thus was untimely cut off, at the early age of 28 years, 
one who, had his life and health been spared, would have 
made important contributions to the knowledge which we 



possess regarding the history, customs, and religion of the 
aboriginal inhabitants of Minnesota. He had projected 
at least two other works, as noted in his preface, and it is 
believed that he had the material, and the familiarity with 
the subject, to have completed them in a thorough man- 

The news of Mr. "Warren's death was received with 
much sorrow by a large circle of friends, and especially . 
by the Ojibways, to whom he was much endeared, and 
whom he had always so unselfishly befriended. They had 
always placed the most implicit confidence in him, and 
knew that he could be relied on. His generosity in sharing 
with them anything that he had, was one cause of his 
straitened circumstances. 

His death was noticed by the press with just and appro- 
priate eulogies. A memoir in the Democrat, July 6, 1853, 
written by the late Win. H. Wood, Esq., of Sauk Eapids, 
says : — 

"From his kindly and generous nature, he has ever been 
a favorite, especially with chiefs and old men. He spoke 
their language with a facility unknown even to themselves, 
and permitted no opportunity to pass, of learning from the 
old men of the nation, its history, customs and beliefs. 
He delighted to listen to their words. Often has the 
writer of this tribute found him seated at the foot of an 
old oak, with Flat Mouth, the Pillager chief, noting down 
upon paper the incidents of the old man's eventful life, as 
he related them. Having, by his steadfast friendship to the 
Indians, won their confidence, they fully communicated to 
him, not only the true history of their wars, as seen by 
themselves, and as learned from tradition, but also that 
of their peculiar religious beliefs, rites and ceremonies. 
Perhaps no man in the United States was so well ac- 
quainted with the interior life of the Indian, as was Mr. 
Warren. He studied it long and thoroughly. Investing 




Indian life with a romance perhaps too little appreciated 
by less imaginative minds, he devoted himself to the work 
of preparing and unfolding it, with a poet's enthusiasm. 

" Thus animated, he could not be otherwise than enthu- 
siastically attached to the Indians and their interests, and 
so he was. He was their true friend. While from the 
treachery of some and the cupidity of others, the Indians 
were often left with apparently no prospect but sudden 
destruction, in Mr. Warren they never failed of finding a 
brother, by whose kinds words of encouragement and 
sympathy, their hearts were ever gladdened. In his en- 
deavors to contribute to their happiness, he sacrificed all 
personal interests and convenience, he, with his wife and 
children, often dividing with them their last morsel of 
subsistence. With a true philanthropist's heart, he literally 
went about among them doing good." 

Of the four children born to Mr. Warren and his wife, 
two survive, a son, William Tyler Warren, and a daughter, 
Mrs. Madeline Uran, both residing on White Earth Reser- 
vation, Minn. 

He was a firm believer in the truths of the Christian 
faith, and was a regular and interested student of the 
sacred Scriptures. He was accustomed, in his intercourse 
with the Indians, to enjoin upon them the duty and advan- 
tage of accepting the religion taught them by the mission- 
aries, and it is believed that his advice had good effect 
upon them. 

I must not close this imperfectly performed task, with- 
out acknowledging my obligations to Hon. II. M. Rice, 
Col. D. A. Robertson, Mrs. Elizabeth Aver, Rev. W. T. 
Boutwcll, and especially to Truman A. W^arren, of White 
Earth, and Mrs. Mary C. [Warren] English, of Red Lake, 
for material and aid kindly furnished me in its preparation. 








The red race of [North America is fast disappearing 
before the onward resistless tread of the Anglo-Saxon. 
Once the vast tract of country lying between the Atlantic 
sea-board and the broad Mississippi, where a century since 
roamed numerous tribes of the wild sons of iSTature, but a 
few — a very few, remnants now exist. Their former do- 
mains are now covered with the teeming towns and 
villages of the " pale face" and millions of happy free-men 
now enjoy the former home of these unhappy and fated 

The few tribes and remnants of tribes who still exist on 
our western frontiers, truly deserve the sympathy and at- 
tention of the American people. We owe it to them as a 
duty, for are we not now the possessors of their former in- 
heritance ? Are not the bones of their ancestors sprinkled 
through the soil on which are now erected our happy 
homesteads ? The red man has no powerful friends (such 
a* the enslaved negro can boast), to rightly represent his 
miserable, sorrowing condition, his many wrongs, his 
wants and wishes. In fact, so feebly is the voice of philan- 
thropy raised in his favor, that his existence appears to be 
hardly known to a large portion of the American people, 
or his condition and character has been so misrepresented 

1 Written in 1852, before the emancipation of negroes in the Southern States 
of the Republic. — E. D. N 




that it has failed to secure the sympathy and help which 
he really deserves. We do not fully understand the 
nature and character of the Red Eace. The Anglo-Amer- 
icans have pressed on them so unmercifully — their inter- 
course with them has been of such a nature, that they have 
failed to secure their love and confidence. 

The heart of the red man has been shut aeainst his 
white brother. We know him only by his exterior. We 
have judged of his manners and customs, and of his relig- 
ious rights and beliefs, only from what we have seen. It 
remains yet for us to learn how these peculiar rites and 
beliefs originated, and to fathom the motives and true 
character of these anomalous people. 

Much has been written concerning the red race by mis- 
sionaries, travellers and some eminent authors ; but the 
information respecting them which has thus far been col- 
lected, is mainly superficial. It has been obtained mostly 
by transient sojourners among the various tribes, who not 
having a full knowledge of their character and language, 
have obtained information through mere temporary obser- 
vation — through the medium of careless and imperfect 
interpreters, or have taken the accounts of unreliable 

Notwithstanding all that has been written respecting 
these people since their discovery, yet the field for research, 
to a person who understands the subject, is still vast and 
almost limitless. And under the present condition of the 
red race, there is no time to lose. Whole tribes are daily 
disappearing, or are being so changed in character through 
a close contact with an evil white population, that their 
history will forever be a blank. There are but a few 
tribes residing west of the Mississippi and over its head- 
waters, who are comparatively still living in their primi- 
tive state — cherishing the beliefs, rites, customs, and tradi- 
tions of their forefathers. 

warren's preface. 


Among these may be mentioned the Ojibway, who are 
at the present day, the most numerous and important tribe 
of the formerly wide extended Algic family of tribes. 
They occupy the area of Lake Superior and the sources 
of the Mississippi, and as a general fact, they still live in 
the ways of their ancestors. Even among these, a change 
is so rapidly taking place, caused by a close contact with 
the white race, that ten years hence it will be too late to 
save the traditions of their forefathers from total oblivion. 
And even now, it is with great difficulty that genuine in- 
formation can be obtained of them. Their aged men are 
fast falling into their graves, and they carry with them 
the records of the past history of their people ; they are the 
initiators of the grand rite of religious belief which they 
believe the Great Spirit has granted to his red children to 
secure them long life on earth, and life hereafter ; and in 
the bosoms of these old men are locked up the original 
causes and secrets of this, their most ancient belief. 

The writer of the following pages was born, and has 
passed his lifetime, among the Ojibways of Lake Superior 
and the Upper Mississippi. His ancestors on the maternal 
side, have been in close connection with this tribe for the 
past one hundred and fifty years. Speaking their lan- 
guage perfectly, and connected with them through the 
strong ties of blood, he has ever felt a deep interest in 
their welfare and fate, and has deemed it a duty to save 
their traditions from oblivion, and to collect every fact 
concerning them, which the advantages he possesses have 
enabled him to procure. 

The following pages are the result of a portion of his 
researches ; the information and facts contained therein 
have been obtained during the course of several A^ears of 
inquiry, and great care has been taken that nothing but 
the truth and actual fact should be presented to the 



In this volume, the writer has confined himself al- 
together to history ; giving an account of the principal 
events which have occurred to the Ojibways within the 
past five centuries, as obtained from the lips of their old 
men and chiefs who are the repositories of the traditions 
of the tribe. 

Through the somewhat uncertain manner in which the 
Indians count time, the dates of events which have oc- 
curred to them since their discovery, may differ slightly 
from those which have been given us by the early Jesuits 
and travellers, and endorsed by present standard historians 
as authentic. 

Through the difficulty of obtaining the writings of the 
early travellers, in the wild country where the writer com- 
piled this work, he has not had the advantage of rectifying 
any discrepancies in time or date which may occur in the 
oral information of the Indians, and the more authentic 
records of the whites. 

The following work may not claim to be well and 
elaborately written, as it cannot be expected that a person 
who has passed most of his life among the wild Indians, 
even beyond what may be termed the frontiers of civil- 
ization, can wield the pen of an Irving or a Schoolcraft. 
But the work does claim to be one of truth, and the first 
work written from purely Indian sources, which has prob- 
ably ever been presented to the public. Should the notice 
taken of it, by such as feel an interest in the welfare of 
the red race, warrant a continuation of his labors in this 
broad field of inquiry, the writer presents this volume as 
the first of a series. 

He proposes in another work to present the customs, 
beliefs, and rites of the Ojibways as they are, and to give 
the secret motives and causes thereof, also giving a com- 
plete exposition of their grand religious rite, accompanied 
with the ancient and sacred hieroglyphics pertaining 

warren's preface. 


thereto, with their interpretation, specimens of their relig- 
ious idiom, their common language, their songs. Also 
their creed of spiritualism or communion with spirits, and 
jugglery which they have practised for ages, and which 
resembles in many respects the creed and doctrines of the 
clairvoyants and spiritualists who are making such a 
stir in the midst of our most enlightened and civilized 
communities. Those who take an interest in the Indian, 
and are trying to study out his origin, will find much in 
these expositions which may tend to elucidate the grand 
mystery of their past. 

Succeeding this, the writer proposes, if his precarious 
health holds out, and life is spared to him, to present a 
collection of their mythological traditions, on many of 
which their peculiar beliefs are founded. This may be 
termed the " Indian Bible." The history of their eccentric 
grand incarnation — the great uncle of the red man — whom 
they term Man-abo-sho, would fill a volume of itself, which 
would give a more complete insight into their real char- 
acter, their mode of thought and expression, than any 
book which can be written concerning them. 

A biography of their principal chiefs, and most noted 
warriors, would also form an interesting work. 

The writer possesses not only the will, but every advan- 
tage requisite to procure information for the completion 
of this series of works. But whether he can devote his 
time and attention to the subject fully, depends on the 
help and encouragement he may receive from the public, 
and from those who may feel an anxiety to snatch from 
oblivion what may be yet learned of the fast disappearing 
red race. 




Divisions among; the aboriginal inhabitants of North America — The Algic 
family of tribes — Their geographical position at the time of the discovery — 
Their gradual disappearance, and remarks on their present fate — Ojibways 
form the most numerous tribe of the Algics — The names, with their signifi- 
cations, of the principal tribes of this family — Causes of the difference in 
their several idioms — The importance of the Totemic division among the 
Algics — Origin of the name Ojibway — Present geographical position of the 
Ojibways — Their numbers and principal villages — Subdivisions of the 
tribes — Nature and products of their country — Present mode of livelihood. 

Before entering into the details of their past history, it 
is necessary that the writer should give a brief account of 
the present position and numbers of the Ojibways, and the 
connection existing between them and other tribes of the 
American Indians residins: in their vicinity, within the 
limits of the United States, Canada, and the British posses- 

Reliable and learned authors who have made the 
aboriginal race of America an object of deep study and 
research, have arrived at the conclusion, that the numerous 
tribes into which thev are divided, belong not to the same 
primitive family or generic stock, but are to be ranged 
under several well-defined heads or types. The well- 
marked and total difference found existing between their 
several languages, has been the principal and guiding rule 




under which they have been ethnologic-ally divided, one 
type or family from another. 

The principal and most numerous of these several primi- 
tive stocks, comprising a large group of still existing: 
tribes, have been euphoniously named by Henry R. School- 
craft, with the generic term of Algic, derived from the 
word Algonquin, a name given by the early French 
discoverers to a tribe of this family living on the St. Law- 
rence River, near Quebec, whose descendants are now 
residing, partially civilized, at the Lake of the Two Moun- 
tains, in Canada. 

Judging from their oral traditions, and the specimens 
of their different languages which have been made public 
by various writers, travellers, and missionaries, nearly every 
tribe originally first discovered by the Europeans residing 
on the shores of the Atlantic, from the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, south to the mouth of the James River in Virginia, 
and the different tribes occupying the vast area lying west 
and northwest of this eastern boundary to the banks of 
the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Ohio to Hudson 
Bay, belong to the Algic family. In this general area the 
Six Nations of ew York, the Wyandots, and formerly 
the Winnebagoes, who, however, now reside west of the 
Mississippi, are the principal exceptions. 

The red men who first greeted our Pilgrim Fathers on 
the rock-bound coast of Plymouth, and who are so vitally 
connected with their early history, were Algics. The 
people who treated with the good "William Penn for the 
site of the present great city of Philadelphia, and who 
named him " me guon," meaning in the Ojibway language 
" a pen" or feather, were of the Algic stock. 

The tribes over whom Pow-hat-tan (signifying "a 
dream") ruled as chief, and who are honored in the name 
of Po-ca-hon-ta3 (names so closely connected with that 
of Capt. John Smith, and the early Virginia colonists), 
belonged to this wide-spread family, whose former posses- 



sions are now covered with the towns and teeming cities 
of millions of happy freemen. But they — where are they ? 
Almost forgotten even in name : whole tribes have become 
extinct, and passed away forever — none are left but a few 
remnants who are lingering out a miserable existence on 
our far western frontiers, pressed back — moved by the so- 
called humane policy of our great and enlightened govern- 
ment — where, far away from a Christian and conscientious 
community, they can be made the easier victims of the 
unprincipled money-getter, the whiskey dealer, and the 
licentious dregs of civilized white men who have ever been 
first on our frontiers, and who are ever busy demoralizing 
the simple Indian, hovering around them like buzzards 
and crows around the remains of a deer's carcass, whom 
the wolves have chased, killed, gorged upon, and left. 

This is a strong picture, but it is nevertheless a true one. 
A vast responsibility rests on the American people, for if 
their attention is not soon turned forcibly toward the fate 
of his fast disappearing red brother, and the American 
statesmen do not soon make a vast change for the better 
in their present Indian policy, our nation will make itself 
liable, at some future day, to hear the voice of the Great 
Creator demanding " Cain, where is Abel, thy brother ? 
What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood 
crieth unto me from the ground." . . . 

The Ojibways form one of the principal branches of the 
Algic stock, and they are a well-marked type, and at 
present the most numerous section or tribe of this grand 
division of the aboriginal inhabitants of North America. 

Next to them in numbers and importance, rank the tribes 
of the O-dah-waug 1 (which name means trading people), best 

1 The Outouacs originally lived in the valley of Ottawa River, Canada, and 
the furs at first received by the French at Quebec and Montreal, came through 

Duchesneau, Intendant of Canada, in one of his dispatches to France wrote : 
* The Outawas Indians who are divided into several tribes, and are nearest to 



known as (Ottaways), Po-da-waud-um-eeg 1 (Pottawatomies) 
(those who keep the fire), Waub-un-uk-eeg (Delaware's) 
(Eastern earth dwellers), Shaw-un-oag 2 (Shawnces) (South- 
erners), O-saug-eeg (Saukies 3 ) (those who live at the entry), 

us, are those of the greatest use, because through them we obtain beaver ; and 
although they do not hunt generally, and have but a small portion of peltry 
in this country, they go in search of it to the most distant places, and exchange 
it for our merchandise." — N. Y. Col. Docs. ix. 160. — E. D. N. 

1 The Pouteouatami, contracted by the French traders Toux, fled from the 
Iroquois, and the trader Nicolet, in the fall of 1634 or winter of 1635, found 
them in the vicinity of Green Bay, Wisconsin. After the French settled at 
Detroit, a portion of the tribe followed, while another baud settled at St. 
Joseph, Michigan, and some stragglers near the present city of Milwaukee, 
Wis. In 1701, Ounanguisse, the Chief of the tribe, visited Montreal. In 1S04, 
Thomas G. Anderson traded with the Pottawatomies of Milwaukee. The 
tribe was represented when the treaty was made in 1787, at Fort Harmcr on 
the Muskingum, Ohio, by Governor Arthur St. Clair. By a treaty with them 
in October, 1S32, the land around Chicago was ceded to the United States. 
In 1846 the different bands agreed to remove to a reservation in Kansas. In 
1883 a remnant of 100 were living in Calhoun County, Michigan, but the tribe 
to the number of 410 persons were in the reservation in Jackson County, Kan- 
sas, while 280 wanderers were reported in Wisconsin, and 500 citizen Pottawat- 
omies in the Indian Territory. — E. D. N. 

2 The Shawnees, or Chaouanou of the French. Father Gravier in 1700 
descended the Mississippi, and in the account of this voyage writes of the 
Chaouanoua living on a tributary of the Ohio which comes from the south- 
southwest, now knowt as the Tennessee. They now live on a reservation 
west of the Missouri and south of the Kansas Rivers. In 1883 they were esti- 
mated at 720 persons. — E. D. N. 

3 The Sakis or Ousakis were found by the French near Green Bay, and 
spoke a difficult Algonquin dialect. The Jesuit Relation of 1666-7 speaks of 
them in these words : " As for the Ousaki, they may be called savage above 
all others ; there are great numbers of them, but wandering in the forests 
without any permanent dwelling places." 

The Outagoraies, Renards or Foxes, driven by the Iroquois westward, 
and settled southwest of Green Bay, and were the allies of the Saki\s. They 
gave the name to Fox River in Wisconsin, and for years were hostile to the 
French. By a treaty in 1S04, the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States 
lands on both sides of the Mississippi. During the war of 1812, the Chief of 
the Sacs and Foxes. Black Hawk, assisted the British. In 1832 this Chief re- 
fused to comply with treaty stipulations and leave his village near Rock Island, 
Illinois, and after some hostilities delivered himself to the Winnebagoes at La 
Crosse, and they brought him to the United States authorities. After this in 
Sept. 21, 1832, the confederate tribes of Sacs and Foxes ceded all the eastern 
part of the State of Iowa. By a treaty of 1842, they agreed to remove to 



O-dish-quag-urn-eeg (Algonquins proper), (Last water 
people), O-mun-o-min-eeg 1 (Minominies) (Wild rice people), 
O-dug-am-eeg 2 (Foxes), (those who live on the opposite side), 
O-maum-eeg 3 (Miamies or Maumies), (People who live on 
the peninsula). 

Ke-nis-te-noag (Crees). 

Omush-ke-goag (Musk-e-goes), (Swamp people). 

These names are given in plural as pronounced by the 
Ojibways; annexed are their different significations. 

The names of many lesser tribes, but who are now 
almost extinct, could be added to the catalogue. It has 
been assumed, however, that enough have been named 
to show the importance of the Algic family or group of 
tribes. It is supposed, through a similarity of language 
with the Ojibways, lately discovered, that the numerous 
and powerful tribe of the Blackfeet, occupying the north- 
western prairies at the eastern base of the Rocky Moun- 

reservations on the Osage and Great Nemaha Rivers. For thirty years nearly 
all the Fox tribe have lived in Tama County, Iowa, and in 1883, 3GS was the 
estimated population. In the Indian Territory a census of mixed Sacs and 
Foxes was made in 1883, and 437 was the number. — E. D. N. 

1 The Menominies called by the French Maloumines, Maroumines, and 
Folles Avoines were found by the first explorers near Green Bay. In 1S31 
they ceded to the United States the lands between Green Bay, Lake Winnebago, 
and Milwaukee River. In 1848 they ceded their remaining lands in Wisconsin, 
and accepted a reservation above Crow Wing River in Minnesota. Upon ex- 
amination they were not pleased, and gave it back, the United States giving 
them, from their old lands in Wisconsin, in 1854, a reservation of 432 square 
miles. Their number in 1883 was 1392. — E. D. N. 

1 See note 3 on preceding page. 

3 The Miamis, called by the French Oumamis, Oumamik, Miamioueck and 
Oumiamis, the prefix Ou being equivalent to the definite article in English, were 
composed of several bands. D'Iberville in 1701 mentions that they were 500 
families in number. They belonged to the Illinois confederacy. In 1705 
eome of them were dwelling at St. Joseph and Detroit, Michigan. In 1751 
they were on the Wabash. Selling their lands to the United States, with the 
exception of a few on Eel River, Indiana, the Miamis went to a reservation 
on the Osage River. They have dwindled down to 61 persons who live in the 
Indian Territory. — E. D. N. 



tains, above the head of the Missouri, also form a branch 
of this family. 

The Ojibways term them Pe-gan-o, and know the Mis- 
souri River by the same name. 

The difference between all these kindred tribes consists 
mostly in their speaking different dialects or idioms of the 
same generic language ; between some of the tribes the 
difference lies mostly in the pronunciation, and between 
none of them is the difference of speech so wide, but a 
direct and certain analogy and affinity can be readily 
•traced to connect them. 

These variances occurring in the grammatical principles 
and pronunciation of their cognate dialects, has doubtless 
been caused by the different tribes occupying positions 
isolated from one another throughout the vast area of 
country over which they have been spread, in many in- 
stances separated by long distances, and communication 
being cut off by intervening hostile tribes. 

The writer asserts positively, and it is believed the fact 
will surprise many who have made these Indians an object 
of inquiry and research, that the separation of the Algics 
into all these different and distinct tribes, is but a second- 
ary division, which can be reached and accounted for, in 
their oral traditions : a division which has been caused 
by domestic quarrels, wide separations, and non-intercourse 
for generations together, brought about through various 

The first and principal division, and certainly the most 
ancient, is that of blood and kindred, embodied and rigidly 
enforced in the system which we shall denominate Totemic. 
The Algics as a body are divided into several grand fami- 
lies or clans, each of which is known and perpetuated by a 
symbol of some bird, animal, fish, or reptile which they 
denominate the Totem or Do-daim (as the Ojibways pro- 
nounce it) and which is equivalent, in some respects, to 



the coat of arms of the European nobility. The Totem 
descends invariably in the male line, and inter-marriages 
never take place between persons of the same symbol or 
family, even, should they belong to different and distinct 
tribes, as they consider one another related by the closest 
ties of blood and call one another by the nearest terms of 

Under the head of "The Totemic System" this peculiar 
and important division of the Algics will be more fully 
explained and illustrated. It is mentioned here only to 
show the close ties which exist between the Ojibway and 
the other tribes, who belong with them to the same generic 

We have in the preceding remarks briefly explained 
the general connection which the Ojibways bear with 
other tribes, and indicated the grand section of which they 
form a principal part or branch. We will now more par- 
ticularly treat of them, as a separate tribe, and state their 
present geographical position, numerical force, and inter- 
tribal divisions. 

A few remarks will not be inappropriate respecting the 
definition of their tribal name. 

Mr. Henry R. Schoolcraft, the learned author on Indians, 
who has written much concerning this tribe, says in one 
of his works: "They call themselves Od-jib-wag, which 
is the plural of Od-jib-wa — a term which appeal's to denote 
a peculiarity in their voice or manner of utterance." In 
another place he intimates that the word is derived from 
" bwa" denoting voice. From this, the writer, through his 
knowledge of the language, is constrained to differ, though 
acknowledging that so far as the mere word may be re- 
garded, Mr. Schoolcraft has given what, in a measure, 
may be considered a natural definition ; it is, however, im- 
probable, for the reason that there is not the slightest per- 
ceivable pucker or " drawing up," in their manner of utter- 



ance, as the word O-jib would indicate. The word ojib or 
Ojibwa, means literally " puckered, or drawn up." The 
answer of their old men when questioned respecting the 
derivation of their tribal name, is generally evasive ; when 
hard pressed, and surmises given them to go by, they as- 
sent in the conclusion that the name is derived from a 
peculiarity in the make or fashion of their moccasin, which 
has a puckered seam lengthways over the foot, and which 
is termed amongst themselves, and in other tribes, the 
O-jib-wa moccasin. 

There is, however, another definition which the writer 
is disposed to consider the true one, and which has been 
corroborated to him by several of their most reliable old 

The word is composed of O-jib, " pucker up," and ub-way, 
" to roast," and it means, u To roast till puckered up." 

It is well authenticated by their traditions, and by the 
writings of their early white discoverers, that before they 
became acquainted with, and made use of the fire arm and 
other European deadly weapons of war, instead of their 
primitive bow and arrow and war-club, their wars with 
other tribes were less deadly, and they were more accus- 
tomed to secure captives, whom under the uncontrolled 
feeling incited by aggravated wrong, and revenge for simi- 
lar injuries, they tortured by fire in various ways. 

The name of Ab-boin-ug (roasters), which the Ojibways 
have given to the Dahcotas or Sioux, originated in their 
roasting their captives, and it is as likely that the word 
Ojibwa (to roast till puckered up), originated in the same 
manner. They have a tradition which will be given 
under the head of their wars with the Foxes, which is 
told by their old men as giving the origin of the practice 
of torturing by fire, and which will fully illustrate the 
meaning of their tribal name. The writer is even of the 



opinion that the name is derived from a circumstance 
which forms part of the tradition. 1 

The name does not date far back. As a race or distinct 
people they denominate themselves A-wish-in-aub-ay. 

The name of the tribe has been most commonly spelt, 
Chippeway, and is thus laid down in our different treaties 
with them, and officially used by our Government. 

Mr. Schoolcraft presents it as Od-jib-wa, which is nearer 
the name as pronounced by themselves. The writer, how- 
ever, makes use of O-jib-way as being simpler spelled, and 
embodying the truest pronunciation ; whore it is ended 
with wa, as in Schoolcraft's spelling, the reader would nat- 
urally mispronounce it in the plural, which by adding the 
s, would spell icas, whereas by ending the word with y 
preserves its true pronunciation both in singular and plu- 
ral. These are slight reasons for the slight variance, but 
as the writer has made it a rigid rule to present all his 
Indian words and names as they themselves pronounce 
them, he will be obliged often to differ from many long 
received O-jib-way terms, which have, from time to time, 
been presented by standard writers and travellers. 

The O-jib-way s are scattered over, and occupy a large 
extent of country comprising all that portion of the State 
of Michigan lying north of Green Bay and west of the 
Straits of Michilimackinac, bordering on Lake Superior, 
the northern half of Wisconsin and the northeastern half 
of Minnesota Territory. Besides this they occupy the 
country lying from the Lake of the Woods, over the entire 
north coast of Lake Superior, to the falls of St. Mary's and 
extending even east of this point into Upper Canada. They 
literally girdle the great " Father of Lakes," and the larg- 
est body of fresh water in the world may emphatically be 
called their own, Ke-che-gum-me, or " Great Water." 

1 For other views as to the meaning of Ojibway, see another article in this 



They occupy, through conquest in war against the Dah- 
cotas, all those numerous lakes from which the Missis- 
sippi and the Eed River of the Xorth derive their sources. 

They number, scattered in different bands and villages 
over this wide domain, about fifteen thousand souls ; in- 
cluding many of their people interspersed amongst other 
tribes, and being isolated from the main body, on the Mis- 
souri, in Canada and northward amongst the Crees and 
Assineboins, the tribe would probably number full twenty 
thousand souls. 

Of this number, about nine thousand live within the 
limits of the United States, locally divided as follows : — 

In Michigan, at their village of Bow-e-ting (Sault Ste 
Marie), We-qua-dong (Ance-ke-we-naw), and Ga-ta-ge-te- 
gaun-ing (Vieux Desert), they number about one thous- 

In the State of Wisconsin, residing at La Pointe, and on 
the Wisconsin, Chippeway, and St. Croix Rivers, and their 
tributary streams and lakes, they number three thousand. 

In the territory of Minnesota, residing at Fond du Lac, 
at Mille Lac, Gull Lake, Sandy Lake, Rabbit Lake, Leech, 
Ottertail, Red, Cass, Winnepeg, and Rainy Lake and Por- 
tage, they count full five thousand souls. 

The tribe is subdivided into several sections, each of 
which is known by a name derived from some particular 
vocation, or peculiar mode of procuring food, or other 

Thus, those of the tribe who live on the immediate 
shores of Lake Superior are known by the name of Ke- 
che-gum-me-win-in-e-wug (Men of the Great Water). 
Those residing in the midland country, between Lake 
Superior and the Mississippi, are named Be-ton-uk-eeng- 
ain-ub-e-jig (Those who sit on the borders). 

With these, are incorporated the Mun-o-ruin-ik-a-sheenh- 
ug (Rice makers), who live on the Rice lakes of the St. 



Croix River; also the Wah-suah-gun-e-win-in-e-wug (Men 
of the torches), who live on the Head lakes of the Wiscon- 
sin, and the Ottawa lake men, who occupy the headwaters 
of Chippeway River. 

The bands residing immediately on the banks of the 
Mississippi are named Ke-che-se-be-win-in-e-wug (Great 
river men) ; those residing in Leech and Ottcrtail lakes, 
are known as Muk-me-dua-win-in-e-wug (Pillagers). A 
large body living on the north coast of Lake Superior, are 
named Sag-waun-dug-ah-win-in-e-wug (Men of the thick 
fir woods). The French have denominated them " Bois 
forts" (hardwoods). 

These are the principal divisions of the Ojibway tribe, 
and there are some marked and peculiar differences exist- 
ing between them, which enable one who is well ac- 
quainted with them, to tell readily to which division each 
man in the tribe belongs. The language is the same with 
all of them. 

These several general divisions are again subdivided into 
smaller bands, having their villages on the bank of some 
beautiful lake or river, from which, again, as bands, they 
derive names. 1 

It is unnecessary, however, to enter into minute details, 
as the only object of this chapter is to give the reader a 
general knowledge of the people whose history we propose 
to present in the following chapters. 

The O-jib-ways reside almost exclusively in a wooded 
country ; their lands are covered with deep and intermin- 
able forests, abounding in beautiful lakes and murmuring 
streams, whose banks are edged with trees of the sweet 
maple, the useful birch, the tall pine, fir balsam, cedar, 
spruce, tamarac, poplar, oak, ash, elm, basswood, and * 

1 For a late census of the Ojibways, see the article in this volume, " His- 
tory of the Ojibways based upon official and other records." 



all the plants indigenous to the climate in which they 

Their country is so interspersed with watercourses, that 
they travel about, up and down streams, from lake to lake, 
and along the shores of Lake Superior, in their light and 
ingeniously made birch-hark canoes. From the bark of 
this useful tree, and rushes, are made the lio-ht covering of 
their simple wigwams. 

The hands who live on the extreme western borders of 
their country, reside on the borders of the vast western 
prairies, into which they have gradually driven the fierce 
Dahcotas. The Red Lake and Pembina hands, and also 
the Pillagers, hunt buffalo and other game on the prairies 
west of the Red River: thus, as it were, standing one 
foot on the deep eastern forests, and the other on the broad 
western prairies. 

The O-jib-ways, with the exception of a few Lake Supe- 
rior and Canada bands, live still in their primitive hunter 

They have ceded to the United States and Great Britain 
large and valuable portions of their country, comprising 
most of the copper regions on Lake Superior and the vast 
Pineries in Wisconsin. From the scanty proceeds of these 
sales, with the fur of the marten, bear, otter, mink, lynx, 
coon, fisher, and muskrat, which are yet to be found in 
their forests, they manage to continue to live in the ways 
of their forefathers, though but poorly and scantily. 

They procure food principally by fishing, also by gath- 
ering wild rice, hunting deer, and, in some bands, partially 
by agriculture. 





A description of the Totemic System — Tradition of its origin — List of the dif- 
ferent Toternic badges — The A-waus-e or " Great Fish" elan — Its subdivi- 
sions — Physical characteristics — Tradition of the Awause — Present position 
and numbers of this clan among: the O-jib-waj's — Bus-in-as-e, or Crane Totem 
clan — Their position in the tribe — Physical characteristics — Names of their 
most noted chiefs — Ah-avvh-wauk or Loon Totem clan — Position and 
claims — Their principal chiefs — Noka, or Bear Totem — Their numbers and 
position in the tribe — Physical characteristics — Their war chiefs — The Wolf 
Totem — Its position and origin — Chiefs — Monsoneeg, or Moose and Marten 
Totem — Their origin, and names of most noted men — Tradition accounting 
for their coalition — Addik, or Reindeer Totem — Totemic system deserving 
of more research. 

There is nothing so worthy of observation and study, in 
the peculiar customs and usages of the Algic type of the 
American aborigines, as their well-defined partition into 
several grand clans or families. 

This stock comprises a large group of tribes, distinct 
from each other, not only in name and locality, but also in 
the manner of uttering their common generic language. 
Yet this division, though an important one and strongly 
defined, is but a sub-division, which has been caused by 
domestic quarrels, necessity, or caprice, and perpetuated by 
long and wide separations and non-intercourse. These 
causes are related in their traditions, even where the great- 
est variance is found to exist between tribes. The separa- 
tion does not date many centuries back. The first grand 
division is that of blood and kindred, which has been per- 
petuated amongst the different tribes by what they call 
the Totemic System, and dates back to the time " when 
the Earth was new." 



Each grand family is known by a badge or symbol, taken 
from nature ; being generally a quadruped, bird, fish, or 
reptile. The badge or Dodaim (Totem, as it has been 
most commonly written), descends invariably in the male 
line ; marriage is strictly forbidden between individuals of 
the same symbol. This is one of the greatest sins that 
can be committed in the Ojibway code of moral laws, and 
tradition says that in former times it was punishable with 
death. 1 

In the present somewhat degenerated times, when per- 
sons of the same Totem intermarry (which even now very 
seldom occurs), they become objects of reproach. It is an 
offence equivalent among the whites to the sin of a man 
marrying his own sister. 

In this manner is the blood relationship strictly preserved 
among the several clans in each tribe, and is made to ex- 
tend amongst the different tribes who claim to derive 
their origin from the same general root or stock, still per- 
petuating this ancient custom. 

An individual of any one of the several Totems belong- 

v CD 

ing to a distinct tribe, as for instance, the Ojibway, is a 
close blood relation to all other Indians of the same Totem, 
both in his own and all other tribes, though he may be 

1 In the Iroquois Book of Rites, edited by Horatio Hale, Number 2 of Bre- 
ton's Library of Aboriginal American Literature, there is the following state- 
ment, pp. 51, 52, as to the elan system. 

" There are many indications which neem to show that the system is merely 
an artificial arrangement instituted for social convenience. It is natural, in 
the sense, that the desire for association is natural to man. The sentiment is 
one which manifests itself alike in all stages of society. The guilds of the 
Middle Ages, the Masonic and other secret brotherhoods, religious organiza- 
tions, trade unions, clubs, and even political parties, are all manifestations of 
this associative instinct. The Indian clan was simply a brotherhood or aggre- 
gate of persons, united by a common tie. What the founders of the Iroquois 
league did, was to extend this system of social alliances through the entire 
confederacy. The Wolf clans-man of the Caniengas is deemed a brother of the 
Wolf clans-man of the Senecas, though originally there may have been no 
special connection between them." — E. D. N. 



divided from them by a long vista of years, interminable 
miles, and knows not even of their existence. 

I am not possessed of sufficient general information re- 
specting all the different groups of tribes in America, to 
enable me to state positively that the Algics are the onl}' 
stock who have perpetuated and still recognize this divi- 
sion into families, nor have I even data sufficient to state 
that the Totemic System is as rigidly kept up among other 
tribes of the Algonquins, as it is among the Ojibways, 
Ottaways, and Potta-wat-omies. 

From personal knowledge and inquiry, I can confidently 
assert that among the Dakotas the system is not known. 
There are a few who claim the Water Spirit or Merman as 
a symbol, but they are the descendants of Ojibways who 
have in former times of peace intermarried with them. 
The system among the Winnebagoes, which somewhat re- 
sembles this, they have borrowed or derived from the 
Ojibways during their long intercourse with them while 
residing about Green Bay and other portions of the present 
State of Wisconsin. 

From these and many other facts which shall be enu- 
merated, the writer is disposed to consider, and therefore 
presents, the Totemic division as more important and 
worthy of more consideration than has generally been ac- 
corded to it by standard authors who have studied and 
written respecting the Indians. 

The Ojibways acknowledge in their secret beliefs, and 
teachings to each successive generation, five original To- 
tems. The tradition in which this belief is embodied, is 
known only to their chief Medas, or priests. It is like all 
their ancient traditions, vague and unsatisfactory, but such 
as it is, I will here present it — verbatim — as I received it. 

" When the Earth was new, the An-ish-in-aub-ag lived, 
congregated on the shores of a great salt water. From the 



bosom of the great deep there suddenly appeared six beings 
in human form, who entered their wigwams. 

One of these six strangers kept a covering over his eves, 
and he dared not look on the An-ish-in-aub-ag, though he 
showed the greatest anxiety to do so. At last he could no 
longer restrain his curiosity, and on one occasion he par- 
tially lifted his veil, and his eye fell on the form of a 
human being, who instantly fell dead as if struck by one of 
the thunderers. Though the intentions of this dread beins* 
w T ere friendly to the An-ish-in-aub-ag, yet the glance of his 
eye was too strong, and inflicted certain death. His fellows, 
therefore, caused him to return into the bosom of the 
great water from which they had apparently emerged. 

The others, who now numbered live, remained with the 
An-ish-in-aub-ag, and became a blessing to them ; from 
them originate the five great clans or Totems, which are 
known among the Ojibways by the general terms of 
A-waus-e, Bus-in-aus-e, Ah-ah-wauk, IS"oka, and Monsone, 
or Waub-ish-ash-e. These are cognomens which are used 
only in connection with the Totemic system. 

Though, according to this tradition, there were but five 
totems originally, yet, at the present day, the Ojibway 
tribe consists of no less than fifteen or twenty families, 
each claiming a different badsre. as follows: — 

1. Uj-e-jauk, 


2. Man-um-aig, 


3. Mong, 


4. Muk-wah, 


5. Waub-ish-ash-e, 


6. Addick, 

Rein Deer. 

7. Mah-een-gun, 


8. Ne-baun-aub-ay, 


9. Ke-noushay, 


10. Be-sheu, 


11. Me-gizzee, 




12. Che-she-gwa, 

13. Mous, 


14. Muk-ud-a-shib, Elack Duck or Cormorant. 

I have here given a list of every badge that is known as 
a family totem among the Ojibways throughout their wide- 
spread villages and bands. 

The crane, catfish, bear, marten, wolf, and loon, are the 
principal families, not only in a civil point of - view, but in 
numbers, as they comprise eight-tenths of the whole tribe. 
Many of these Totems are not known to the tribe in gene- 
ral, and the writer has learned them only through close 
inquiry. Among these may be named the goose, beaver, 
sucker, sturgeon, gull, hawk, cormorant, and white-fish 
totems. They are only known on the remotest northern 
boundaries of the Ojibway country, among the Musk-keeg- 
oes and " Bois Forts." 

The old men of the Ojibways whom I have particularly 
questioned on this subject, affirm that all these different 
badges are only subdivisions of the five great original 
totems of the An-ish-in-aub-ag, who have assumed separate 
minor badges, without losing sight or remembrance of the 
main stock or family to which they belong. These divi- 
sions have been gradually taking place, caused in the same 
manner as the division into distinct tribes. They are 
easily classed under the five great heads, the names of 
which we have given. 

Aish-ke-bus-e-coshe, the old and reliable head chief of 
the Pillager and Northern Ojibways, has rendered me 

15. Ne-kah, 

16. Numa-bin, 

17. ISTuma, 

18. Ude-kumaig, 

19. Amik, 

20. Gy-aushk, 

21. Ka-kaik, 




White Fish. 



much information on this subject. He is the present liv- 
ing recognized head of the great A-waus-e family. He 
says that this clan claim the Me-she-num-aig-way (immense 
fish) which, according to their description, is equivalent 
or analogical, to the Leviathan mentioned in the Bible. 
This being is also one of the Spirits recognized in their 
grand Me-da-we rite. This clan comprises the several 
branches who claim the Catfish, Merman, Sturgeon, 
Pike, Whitefish, and Sucker Totems, and in fact, all the 
totems of the fish species may be classed under this gene- 
ral head. This family are physically noted for being long 
lived, and for the scantiness and fineness of their hair, espe- 
cially in old age ; if you see an old Indian of this tribe 
with a bald head, you may be certain that he is an 

Tradition says that many generations ago, all the dif- 
ferent clans of the tribe, with the exception of the Ah-ah- 
wank, formed a league and made war on the Aw-aus-e 
with the intent to exterminate them. But the Aw-aus-e 
family proved too strong for their united brethren and pre- 
vailed against their efforts, and ever since this event, they 
have claimed a certain pre-eminence over them in the 
councils of the tribe. They also claim, that of the six 
beings who emerged from the great water, and originated 
the Totems, their progenitor was the first who appeared, 
and was leader of the others. 

Of nine thousand of the Ojibways who reside within 
the limits of the United States, about the shores of Lake 
Superior and the headwaters of the Mississippi, full one 
thousand belong to the Aw-aus-e family. 

The Bus-in-as-see, or Crane family, are also numerous, 
and form an important element of the Ojibway tribe. 
They reside mostly on the south shores of Lake Superior 
and toward the east in the Canadas, though they have 
representatives scattered in every spot where the Ojibways 



have set foot and lighted their fires. The literal meaning 
of their totemic name is, " Echo-maker,'' derived from the 
word Bus-wa-wag, " Echo," and pertaining to the loud, 
clear, and far reaching cry of the Crane. This clan are 
noted as possessing naturally a loud, ringing voice, and are 
the acknowledged orators of the tribe ; in former times, 
when different tribes met in councils, they acted as inter- 
preters of the wishes of their tribe. They claim, with 
some apparent justice, the chieftainship over the other 
clans of the Ojibways. The late lamented chief Shin-ga- 
ba-wos-sin, who resided at Sault Ste. Marie, belonged to 
this family. In Gov. Lewis Cass's treaty at Prairie du 
Chien in 1825, he was the acknowledged head chief of his 
tribe, and signed his name to that treaty as such. Ah- 
mous (the Little Bee), the son of the late worthy chief of 
Lac du Elambeau, Waub-ish-gaug-aug-e (or "White Crow), 
may now be considered as head or principal chief of this 

The old war chief Ba-be-sig-aun-dib-ay (Curly Head), 
whose name is linked with the history of his tribe, and 
who died on his way returning home from the Treaty of 
Prairie du Chien above mentioned, was also a Bus-in-aus-e, 
and the only representative of his clan amongst that sec- 
tion of his tribe, who so long bravely struggled with the 
fierce Dakotas for the mastery of the western banks of 
the Mississippi, which now form the home of the Winne- 
bagoes. He was the civil and war chief of the Missis- 
sippi Ojibways. Hole-in-the-day 1st, of later notoriety, 
and his brother Song-uk-um-ig (Strong ground), inherited 
his chieftainship by his dying request, as he died childless. 
Weesh-e-da-mo, son of Aissance (Little Clam), late British 
Ojibway chief of Red River, is also a member of this family. 
He is a young man, but has already received two American 
medals, one from the hands of a colonel of our army, and 
the other from the hands of the Governor of Minnesota 



Territory. He is recognized by our government as chief 
of the Pembina section of the Ojibway tribe. 

These facts are stated to show the importance of thi3 
family, and its wide extended influence over the tribe. It 
can be said of them that wherever they have planted 
their wigwam on the widespread territory of their people, 
they have been recognized as chieftains. 

They also boast the names of Keesh-ke-mun, chief of the 
Lac du Flambeau section ; Che-suh-yauh and Waub-ij-e- 
jauk (White Crane), of La Poihte, Shaug-a-waum-ik-ong, all 
noted chiefs during their first intercourse with the white 

The small clans who use the eagle as their Totem or 
badge, are a branch of the Bus-in-aus-e. 

The Ah-ah-wauk, or loon totem, also form an important 
body in the Ojibway tribe ; in fact, they also claim to be 
the chief or royal family, and one of their arguments to 
prove this position is tbat nature has placed a color 
[collar ?] around the neck of the loon, which resembles the 
royal megis, or wampum, about the neck of a chief, which 
forms the badge of his honor. This dignity, however, is 
denied by the Cranes and other totems, who aver that the 
principal chiefs of the Ah-ah-wauk are descended from in- 
dividuals who were on a certain occasion made chiefs by 
the French at Quebec, as will be related in the course of 
the following history. This family do not lack in chiefs 
who have acted a prominent part in the affairs of the tribe, 
and whose names are linked with its history. 

Ke-che-waish-keenh (Great Buffalo), the respected and 
venerable chief of the La Pointe band, and principal chief 
of all the Lake Superior and Wisconsin bands, is the ac- 
knowledged head of this clan, and his importance as an in- 
dividual in the tribe, strengthens the position of the Ah- 
ah-wauk. The chief of Sandy Lake on the upper Missis- 
sippi is also of this family. The Goose and Cormorant 



Totems are its subdivisions. The Xo-ka or Bear family 
are more numerous than any of the other clans of the 
Ojibways, forming fully one-sixth of the entire tribe. 

In former times this numerous body was subdivided 
into many lesser elans, making only portions of the bear's 
body their Totems, as the head, the foot, the ribs, etc. 
They have all since united under one head, and the only 
shade of difference still recognized by them is the common 
and grizzly bear. They are the acknowledged war chiefs 
and warriors of the tribe, and are keepers of the war-pipe 
and war-club, and are often denominated the bulwarks of 
the tribe against its enemies. 

It is a general saying, and an observable fact, amongst 
their fellows, that the Bear clan resemble the animal that 
forms their Totem in disposition. They are ill-tempered 
and fond of fighting, and consequently they are noted as 
ever having kept the tribe in difficulty and war with other 
tribes, in which, however, they have generally been the 
principal and foremost actors. They are physically noted, 
and the writer has observed the fact, that they are pos- 
sessed of a long, thick, coarse head of the blackest hair, 
which seldom becomes thin or white in old age. Young 
Hole-in-the-day (son of the great war-chief of that name), 
the recognized chief of the Ojibways of the Mississippi, 
numbering about twelve hundred, is now [A. D. 1852] 
the most noted man of the H" o-ka family. Ka-kaik (the 
Hawk), of Chippeway River, and Be-she-ke (Buffalo), of 
Leech Lake, have extolled influence as war chiefs. 

The Mah-een-gun, or Wolf totem family, are few in 
number, and reside mostly on the St. Croix River and at 
Mille Lac. They are looked upon by the tribe in general 
with much respect. The Ojibways of this totem derive 
their origin on the paternal side from the Dakotas. Xa- 
guon-abe. the civil chief of Mille Lac, may be considered 
the principal man of this family. Mun-Crmin-ik-a--she 



(Rice-maker), who has lately removed from the St. Croix 
to Mille Lac with his band, is a man of considerable im- 
portance amongst his fellows. 

The Waub-ish-a-she, or Marten family, form a numerous 
body in the tribe, and is one of the leading clans. Tradi- 
tion says that they are sprung from the remnant captives 
of a fierce and warlike tribe whom the coalesced Algic 
tribes have exterminated, and whom they denominate the 
Mun-dua. The chiefs AVaub-ish-ash (the Marten), of Chip- 
peway River, Shin-goob (Balsam), and Xug-aun-ub (Sit- 
ting-ahead), of Fond du Lac, are now the principal men of 
the clan. The celebrated Ke-che-waub-ish-ash, of Sandy 
Lake, Sha-wa-ke-shig, of Leech Lake, and Muk-ud-a-shib 
(or Black Duck), of Red River, were members of this 
family. In their days they conduced greatly towards 
wresting country from the Dakotas, and driving them 
westward. All three died on battle-fields — the first at 
Elk River fight, the second at Rum River massacre, and 
the third fell fighting on the western prairies against im- 
mense odds ; but one out of forty, who fought with him, 
escaped a warrior's death. 

Under the generic term of Mous-o-neeg, the families of 
the Marten, Moose, and Reindeer totems are included. 
Aish-ke-bug-e-coshe, the old Pillager chief, related to me 
the following tradition, accounting for the coalition or 
close affinity between the Moose and Marten totems : — 

"The family of the Moose totem, denominated Mous-o- 
neeg, many centuries ago, when the Ojibways lived towards 
the rising sun, were numerous and powerful. They lived 
congregated by themselves in one great village, and were 
noted for their warlike and quarrelsome disposition. They 
were ill-tempered and proud of their strength and bravery. 
For some slight cause they commenced to make war on 
their brethren of the Marten totem. Severely suffering 
from the incursions, and unable to cope singly with the 



Mous-o-neeg, the Martens called together the different 
clans of the tribe to council, and called on them for help 
and protection. A general league was made between the 
different totems, and it was determined that the men of 
the obnoxious and quarrelsome family of the Moose badge 
should be exterminated. 

"The plan for their sudden and total destruction was 
agreed upon, and a council lodge was ordered to be built, 
which was made narrow and just long enough to admit all 
the warriors of the Mous-o-neeg. The poles of this lodge 
were planted firmly and deep in the ground, and close 
together, and lapping over the top they were strongly 
twisted and fastened together. Over this frame were tied 
lengthways, and worked in like wicker-work, other green 
poles, and so close together that a man's hand could 
scarcely pass through any part of the frame, so close and 
strong was it constructed. Over this frame, and from the 
inside, leaving but a long narrow aperture in the top, was 
fastened a thick covering and lining of dried grass. 

"When this lodge had been completed, runners were 
sent to the village of the Moose Totem family, and all their 
chiefs and warriors solemnly invited to a national council 
and feast. This summons was made in such a manner that 
they could not refuse, even if they so felt disposed ; and 
on the day fixed, the chiefs and all the men of war of the 
refractory clan arrived in a body at the village of their 
mortal foes (the Martens), where the council-lodge had been 
built and made ready. 

" They were led into the lodge, where the old men and 
chiefs of the tribe had collected to receive them. The 
Mous-o-neeg entered unarmed, and as their great numbers 
gradually filled the lodge, the former inmates, as if through 
courtesy, arose and went out to give them room. Kettles 
full of cooked meat were brought in and placed before 
them, and they were requested to eat, after the fatigues of 



their journey. They entirely filled the long lodge; and 
when every one had left it but themselves, and while they 
were busy feasting on the good things that had been placed 
before them, the doors at each end were suddenly closed 
and fastened on them. A chief of the Marten Totem then 
addressed them in a loud voice, repeating over all the acts 
of blood and wickedness which they had enacted, and 
informing them that for these things the national council 
had decreed to sweep them from the face of the earth 
which they polluted. The lodge was surrounded by the 
warriors of the Marten, who acted as executioners ; torches 
were applied to the thick and dry covering of grass, and, 
struggling in the flames unable to escape, the men of the 
Moose Totem were dispatched with barbed arrows shot 
through the narrow openings between the lodge-poles that 
confined them. In this fearful manner were the men of 
this wicked clan destroyed. Their women and children 
were captured by the Marten family, and adopted into 
their clan. In this manner the close consanguinity of 
these two Totems commenced, and at this day they are 
considered as one family." 

The Reindeer family, which is a branch of the Mous-o- 
neeg, are few in number, and they reside mostly on the 
north coast of Lake Superior. The celebrated Ojibway 
war-leader Waub-o-jeeg (White Fisher), whom Mr. School- 
craft has noticed in his writings at some length, was a 
member of this family, descended from a branch who emi- 
grated from the Grand Portage near the mouth of Pigeon 
River to La Pointe, Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, where he and his 
father, Ma-moug-e-se-do (Big-foot), flourished nearly a cen- 
tury ago as war-leaders and chiefs of their people. 

The other badges or totemic svmbols which I have enu- 
merated, form inconsiderable families, and are but branches 
of the principal clans whom I have noticed in the fore- 
going pages. 



It will be difficult, till a minute insight is obtained into 
the totemic history and organization of all the Algic 
tribes, to decide fully the number of generic or grand 
Totems which are recognized among them, and the numeric 
strength of each. 

This subject is deserving of close research and study. I 
consider it a most important link in solving the deep 
mystery which covers their origin. Even with the im- 
perfect insight which has been given on this subject by 
different writers, an analogy cannot but be noticed exist- 
ing in many respects between the totemic division of the 
Algics, and the division of the Hebrews into tribes. And 
the remarkable purity with which the system has been 
kept up for ages, finds no other parallel in the history of 





Preliminary remarks — Belief of the Ojibways respecting their origin — Belief in, 
and causes of a deluge— A code of religion given to them by the Great 
Spirit — Analysis of their name as a people — Their original beliefs have be- 
come mixed with the teachiug of the old Jesuit missionaries — Difficulty of 
obtaining their pure beliefs — Tales which they relate to the whites, not 
genuine — Non-unity of the human race— Effects of disbelieving the Bible- 
Differences between the American aborigines — Between the Ojibways and 
Dakotas — Surmise of their different origin — Belief of the Ojibways in a 
Great Spirit— Their extreme veneration — Sacrifice — Visions of the Great 
Spirit — Mode of obtaining guardian or dream Spirits — Fasts and dreams- 
Sacrificial feasts — Grand rite of the Me-da-we-win — It is not yet understood 
by the whites — Misrepresented by missionaries and writers — It contains their 
most ancient hieroglyphics, and the most ancient idiom of their language — 
Rules of the Me-da-we-win — Tradition of the snake-root — Ojibway medicine 
sack— Custom -among the Blackfeet bearing a resemblance to the ark and 
the High Priesthood of the Hebrews — Totemic division into families — Their 
traditions bear a similitude to Bible history — Antagonistical position between 
the Ojibways and Dakotas — Belief of the Ojibways in a future state — Im- 
portant facts deduced therefrom. 

I AM fully aware that many learned and able writers 
have given to the world their opinions respecting the ori- 
gin of the aboriginal inhabitants of the American Conti- 
nent, and the manner in which they first obtained a foot- 
ing and populated this important section of the earth, 
which, for so many thousand years, remained unknown to 
the major portion of mankind inhabiting the Old World. 

It is, however, still a matter of doubt and perplexity ; it 
is a book sealed to the eyes of man, for the time has not 
yet come when the Great Ruler of all things, in His wis- 
dom, shall make answer through his inscrutable ways to 
the question which has puzzled, and still puzzles the minds 
of the learned civilized world. How came America to be 



first inhabited by man? What branch of the great human 
family are its aboriginal people descended from ? 

Ever having lived in the wilderness, even beyond what 
is knowm as the western frontiers of white immigration, 
where books are scarce and difficult to be procured, I 
have never had the coveted opportunity and advantage of 
reading the opinions of the various eminent authors who 
have written on this subject, to compare with them the 
crude impressions which have gradually, and I may say 
naturally, obtained possession in my own mind, during my 
wdiole life, which I have passed in a close connection of 
residence and blood with different sections of the Ojibway 

The impressions and the principal causes which have 
led to their formation, I now give to the public to be taken 
for what they are considered worth. Clashing with the 
received opinions of more learned writers, whose words are 
taken as standard authority, they may be totally rejected, 
in which case the satisfaction will still be left me, that 
before the great problem had been fully solved, I, a per- 
son in language, thoughts, beliefs, and blood, partly an 
Indian, had made known my crude and humble opinion. 

Respecting their own origin the Ojibways are even more 
totally ignorant than their white brethren, for they have 
no Bible to tell them that God originally made Adam, 
from whom the whole human race is sprung. They have 
their beliefs and oral traditions, but so obscure and un- 
natural, that nothing approximating to certainty can be 
drawn from them. They fully believe, and it forms part 
of their religion, that the world has once been covered 
by a deluge, and that we are now living on what they 
term the " new earth.' 7 This idea is fully accounted for by 
their vague traditions; and in their Me-da-we-win or 
Religion, hieroglyphics are used to denote this second 



They fully believe that the Red man mortally angered 
the Great Spirit which caused the deluge, and at the com- 
mencement of the new earth it was only through the medium 
and intercession of a powerful being, whom they denomi- 
nate Man-ab-o-sho, that they were allowed to exist, and 
means were given them whereby to subsist and support 
life; and a code of religion was more lately bestowed on 
them, whereby they could commune with the offended 
Great Spirit, and ward oft' the approach and ravages of 
death. This they term Me-da-we-win. 

Respecting their belief of their own first existence, I can 
give nothing more appropriate than a minute analysis of 
the name which they have given to their race — An-ish-in- 
aub-ag. This expressive word is derived from An-ish-aw, 
meaning without cause, or " spontaneous," and in-aub-a- 
we-se, meaning the "human body." The word An-ish-in- 
aub-ag, therefore, literally translated, signifies " spontaneous 

Henry R. Schoolcraft (who has apparently studied this 
language, and has written respecting this people more than 
any other writer, and whose works as a whole, deserve the 
standard authority which is given to them by the literary 
world), has made the unaccountable mistake of giving as 
the meaning of this important name, " Common people." 
We can account for this only in his having studied the 
language through the medium of imperfect interpreters. 
In no respect can An-ish-in-aub-ag be twisted so as to 
include any portion of a word meaning "common." 

Had he given the meaning of " original people," which 
he says is the interpretation of " Lenni Lenape," the name 
which the ancient Delawares and eastern sections of the 
Algic tribes call themselves, he would have hit nearer 
the mark. u Spontaneous man" is, however, the true lite- 
ral translation, and I am of the impression that were the 



two apparently different names of Lenni Lenape and An- 
ish-in-aub-ag fully analyzed, and correctly pronounced by a 
person understanding fully the language of both sections of 
the same family, who call themselves respectively by these 
names, not only the meaning would be found exactly to 
coincide, but also the words, differing only slightly in pro- 

The belief of the Algics is, as their name denotes, that 
they are a spontaneous people. They do not pretend, 
as a people, to give any reliable account of their first 
creation. It i3 a subject which to them is buried in dark- 
ness and mystery, and of which they entertain but vague 
and uncertain notions ; notions which are fully embodied 
in the word An-ish-in-aub-ag. 

Since the white race have appeared amongst them, and 
since the persevering and hard-working Jesuit mission- 
aries during the era of the French domination, carried the 
cross and their teachings into the heart of the remotest 
wilderness, and breathed a new belief and new tales into 
the ears of the wild sons of the forest, their ideas on tliis 
subject have become confused, and in many instances they 
have pretended to imbibe the beliefs thus early promul- 
gated amongst them, connecting them with their own 
more crude and mythological ideas. It is difficult on this 
account, to procure from them what may have been their 
pure and original belief, apart from what is perpetuated 
by the name which we have analyzed. It requires a most 
intimate acquaintance with them as a people, and indi- 
vidually with their old story tellers, also with their lan- 
guage, beliefs, and customs, to procure their real beliefs 
and to analyze the tales they seldom refuse to tell, and 
separate the Indian or original from those portions which 
they have borrowed or imbibed from the whites. Their 
innate courtesy and politeness often carry them so far 



that they seldom, if ever, refuse to tell a story when asked 
by a white man, respecting their ideas of the creation and 
the origin of mankind. 

These tales, though made up for the occasion by the 
Indian sage, are taken by his white hearers as their bona 
fide belief, and, as such, many have been made public, and 
accepted by the civilized world. Some of their sages have 
been heard to say, that the " Great Spirit" from the earth 
originally made three different races of men — the white, 
the black, and red race. To the first he gave a book, de- 
noting wisdom ; to the second a hoe, denoting servitude 
and labor ; to the third, or red race, he gave the bow and 
arrow, denoting the hunter state. To his red children the 
" Great Spirit" gave the great island on which the whites 
have found them ; but because of having committed some 
great wickedness and angered their Maker, the}^ are 
doomed to disappear before the rapid tread and advance 
of the wiser and more favored pale face. This, abbrevi- 
ated and condensed into a few words, is the story, with 
variations, with which, as a general thing, the Indian has 
amused the curiosity of his inquisitive white brother. 

It is, however, plainly to be seen that these are not tieir 
original ideas, for they knew not, till they came amongst 
them, of the existence of a white and black race, nor of 
their characteristic symbols of the book and the hoe. 

Were we to entertain the new belief which is being ad- 
vocated by able and learned men, who have closely studied 
the Biblical with the physical history of man, that the 
theory taught us in the Sacred Book, making mankind 
the descendants of one man — Adam — is false, and that 
the human family are derived originally from a multi- 
plicity of progenitors, definitely marked by physical dif- 
ferences, it would be no difficult matter to arrive at once 
to certain conclusions respecting the manner in which 
America became populated. But a believing mind is loth 



to accept the assertions, arguments, and opinions of a set 
of men who would cast down at one fell swoop the widely- 
received beliefs inculcated in the minds of enlightened 
mankind by the sacred book of God. Men will not fall 
blindly into such a belief, not even with the most con- 
vincing arguments. 

Throw down the testimony of the Bible, annul in your 
mind its sacred truths, and we are at once thrown into a 
perfect chaos of confusion and ignorance. Destroy the 
belief which lias been entertained lor ages by the enlight- 
ened portion of mankind, and we are thrown at once on a 
level with the ignorant son of the forest respecting our 
own origin. In his natural state he would even have the 
advantage of his more enlightened brother, for he deduces 
his beliefs from what he sees of nature and nature's work, 
and possessing no certain proof or knowledge of the manner 
of his creation, he simply but forcibly styles himself 
" spontaneous man." On the other hand, the white man, 
divested of Bible truths and history, yet possessing wisdom 
and learning, and a knowledge of the conflicting testimony 
of ages past, descended to him in manuscript and ancient 
monuments, possessing also a knowledge of the physical 
formation of all races of men and the geological formation 
of the earth, would still be at a loss to arrive at certain 
conclusions ; and the deeper he bit into the apple of know- 
ledge, the more confused would be his mind in attempting 
without the aid of God's word to solve the deep mysteries 
of Nature — to solve the mystery of the creation of a uni- 
verse in which our earth is apparently but as a grain of 
sand, and to solve the problem of his own mysterious ex- 

We pause, therefore, before we take advantage of any 
apparent discrepancy or contradiction in the Bible which 
may be artfully shown to us by unbelieving writers, and 
to make use of it to more easily prove any favorite theory 



which we may imbibe respecting the manner in which 
America first became peopled. 

Assume the ground that the human species does not 
come of one common head, and the existence of the red 
race is a problem no longer ; but believe the word of the 
Holy Bible, and it will remain a mystery till God wills 
otherwise. In the mean time, we can but conjecture and 
surmise ; each person has a right to form his own opinion. 
Some deduce from the writings of others, and others from 
personal observation, and by making known the causes 
which have led to the formation of his opinion, he will 
add to the general mass of information which has been 
and is gradually collecting, from which eventually more 
certain deductions will be arrived at. 

Taking the ground that the theory respecting the origin 
of the human race taught us in the Holy Scriptures is 
true, I will proceed to express my humble opinion respect- 
ing the branch of the human race from which originates 
that particular type of the aboriginal race of America 
comprised by the term Algic or Algonquin, of which grand 
family the Ojibway tribe, of whom I shall more particu- 
larly treat, forms a numerous and important section. 

During my long residence among the Ojibways, after 
numberless inquiries of their old men, I have never been 
able to learn, by tradition or otherwise, that they entertain 
the belief that all the tribes of the red race inhabiting: 
America have ever been, at any time since the occupancy 
of this continent, one and the same people, speaking the 
same language, and practising the same beliefs and cus- 
toms. The traditions of this tribe extend no further into 
the past than the once concentration or coalition under 
one head, of the different and now scattered tribes belong- 
ing to the Algic stock. 

We have every reason to believe that America has not 
been peopled from one nation or tribe of the human family, 



for there are differences amongst its inhabitants and con- 
trarieties as marked and fully developed as are to be found 
between European and Asiatic nations — wide differences 
in language, beliefs, and customs. 

A close study of the dissimilarities existing between 
the Ojibways and Dakotas, who have more immediately 
come under my observation, has led me fully to believe 
that they are not descended from the same people of the 
Old World, nor have they ever in America formed one 
and the same nation or tribe. It is true that they assimi- 
late in color and in their physical formation, which can be 
accounted for by their residence in the same climate, and 
sustaining life through the same means. Many of their 
customs are also alike, but these have been naturally 
similarized and entailed on them by living in the same 
wild hunter state, and many they have derived from one 
another during their short fitful terms of peace and inter- 
course. Here all similitude between the two tribes ends. 
They cannot differ more widely than they do in language ; 
and the totemic system, which is an important and leading 
characteristic among the Ojibways, is not known to the 
Dakotas. They differ also widely in their religious beliefs, 
and as far back as their oral traditions descend with any 
certainty, they tell of even having been mortal enemies, 
waging against each other a bloody and exterminating 

Assuming the ground which has been proved both 
probable and practicable by different eminent authors, 
that the American continent has been populated from the 
eastern and northeastern shores of Asia, it is easy to 
believe that not only one, but portions of different Asiatic 
tribes found their way thither, which will account for the 
radical differences to be found in the lan^ua^es of the 
several stocks of the American aborigines. 

Taking these grounds, the writer is disposed to enter- 



tain the belief that, while the original ancestors of the 
Dakota race might have formed a tribe or portion of a 
tribe of the roving sons of Tartary, whom they resemble 
in many essential respects, the Algics, on the other hand, 
may be descended from a portion of the ten lost tribes of 
Israel, whom they also resemble in many important par- 

Of this latter stock only can I speak with any certainty. 
I am fully aware that the surmise which is here advanced 
is not new, but is one which has already elicited much dis- 
cussion ; and although later writers have presented it as 
an exploded idea, yet I cannot refrain from presenting the 
ideas on this subject which have gradually inducted them- 
selves into my mind. 

Boudinot and other learned writers, having at their com- 
mand the books and observations on the Indian tribes 
which have been published from time to time since their 
first discovery, and possessing an intimate knowledge of 
Biblical history, have fallen into the same belief, and 
from a mass of book information they have been enabled 
to offer many able arguments to prove the Red Race of 
America descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. I have 
never had the advantage of seeing or reading these books, 
and only know of their existence from hearsay, and the 
casual remarks or references of the few authors I have 
been enabled to consult. The belief which I have now ex- 
pressed has grown on me imperceptibly from my youth, 
ever since I could first read the Bible, and compare with it 
the lodge stories and legends of my Indian grandfathers, 
around whose lodge fires I have passed many a winter 
evening, listening with parted lips and open ears to their 
interesting and most forcibly told tales. 

After reaching the age of maturity, I pursued my in- 
quiries with more system, and the more information I 
have obtained from them — the more I have become ac- 



quainted with their anomalous and difficult to be under- 
stood characters— the more insight I have gamed into 
their religious and secret rites and faith, the more strongly 
has it been impressed on my mind that they bear a close 
affinity or analogy to the chosen people of God, and they 
are either descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, or they 
have had, in some former era, a close contact and inter- 
course with the Hebrews, imbibing from them their 
beliefs and customs and the traditions of their patriarchs. 

To enter into a detailed account of all the numerous and 
trivial causes which have induced me to entertain this 
idea, would take up much space, and as the subject has 
been so much dwelt upon, by those who, from having 
made the subject the study of their lives, and who by 
their researches have gathered much of the requisite in- 
formation to arrive at more just conclusions than the 
humble writer, I will confine myself to stating a few gen- 
eral facts, some of which may have missed the attention 
of my predecessors on this road of inquiry, and which 
none but those intimately acquainted with the Indians, 
and possessing their fullest confidence, are able to obtain. 

It is a general fact that most people who have been dis- 
covered living in a savage and unenlightened state, and 
even whole nations living in partial civilization, have been 
found to be idolaters — having no just conception of a 
great first Cause or Creator, invisible to human eyes, and 
pervading all space. With the Ojibways it is not so ; the 
fact of their firm belief and great veneration, in an over- 
ruling Creator and Master of Life, has been noticed by all 
who have had close intercourse with them since their 
earliest discovery. It is true that they believe in a multi- 
plicity of spirits which pervade all nature, yet all these are 
subordinate to the one Great Spirit of good. 

This belief is as natural (if not more so), as the belief of 
the Catholics in their interceding saints, which in some 



respects it resembles, for in the same light as intercessors 
between him and the Great Spirit, does the more simple 
Red Man regard the spirits which in his imagination per- 
vade all creation. The never-failing ris;id fasts of first 
manhood, when they seek in dreams for a guardian spirit, 
illustrates this belief most forcibly. 

Ke-che-mun-e-do (Great Spirit) is the name used by the 
Ojibways for the being equivalent to our God. They have 
another term which can hardly be surpassed by any one 
word in the English language, for force, condensity, and 
expression, namely: Ke-zha-mune-do, which means pity- 
ing, charitable, overruling, guardian and merciful Spirit ; 
in fact, it expresses all the great attributes of the God of 
Israel. It is derived from Ke-zha-wand-e-se-roin, meaning 
charity, kindness— Ke-zha-wus-so expressing the guardian 
feeling, and solicitude of a parent toward its offspring, 
watching it with jealous vigilance from harm ; and Shah- 
wau-je-gay, to take pity, merciful, with Alun-e-do (spirit). 
There is nothing to equal the veneration with which the 
Indian regards this unseen being. They seldom even ever 
mention his name unless in their Me-da-we and other re- 
ligious rites, and in their sacrificial feasts ; and then an 
address to him, however trivial, is always accompanied 
with a sacrifice of tobacco or some other article deemed pre- 
cious by the Indian. They never use his name in vain, 
and there is no word in their language expressive of a pro- 
fane oath, or equivalent to the many words used in pro- 
fane swearing by their more enlightened white brethren. 

Instances are told of persons while enduring almost 
superhuman fasts, obtaining a vision of him in their 
dreams ; in such instances the Great Spirit invariably ap- 
pears to the dreamer in the shape of a beautifully and 
strongly -formed man. And it is a confirmed belief 
amongst them, that he or she who has once been blessed 



with this vision, is fated to live to a good old age and in 
enjoyment of ease and plenty. 

All other minor or guardian spirits whom they court in 
their first dream of fasting appear to them in the shape 
of quadrupeds, birds, or some inanimate object in nature, 
as the moon, the stars, or the imaginary thunderers ; and 
even this dream-spirit is never mentioned without sacri- 
fice. The dream itself which has appeared to the faster, 
guides in a great measure his future course in life, and he 
never relates it without offering a sacrificial feast to the 
spirit of the dream. The bones of the animal which he 
offers are carefully gathered, unbroken, tied together, and 
either hung on a tree, thrown into deep water, or carefully 
burnt. Their beliefs and rites, connected with their fasts 
and dreams, are of great importance to themselves, more 
so than has been generally understood by writers who have 
treated of the Algics. 

These facts are mentioned here to show an analogy with 
the ancient and primitive customs of the Hebrews — their 
faith in dreams, their knowledge and veneration of the 
unseen God, and the customs of fasting and sacrifice. 
Minor customs, equally similar with the usages of the 
Hebrews as we read in the Bible, might be enumerated ; 
for instance, the never-failing separation of the female 
during the first period of menstruation, their war cus- 
toms, etc. But it is not the intention of the writer to 
enter with prolixity on this field of inquiry which has 
been so often trod by able writers. 

The grand rite of Me-da-we-win (or, as we have learned 
to term it, " Grand Medicine) and the beliefs incorporated 
therein, are not yet fully understood by the whites. This 
important custom is still shrouded in mystery, even to my 
own eyes, though I have taken much pains to inquire, and 
made use of every advantage, possessed by speaking their 
language perfectly, being related to them, possessing their 




friendship and intimate confidence, has given me, and 
yet I frankly acknowledge that I stand as yet, as it were, 
on the threshold of the Me-da-we lodge. I believe, how- 
ever, that I have obtained full as much and more general 
and true information on this matter than any other per- 
son who has written on the subject, not excepting a great 
and standard author, who, to the surprise of many who 
know the Ojibways well, has boldly asserted in one of his 
works that he has been regularly initiated into the myste- 
ries of this rite, and is a member of the Me-da-we Society. 
This is certainly an assertion hard to believe in the Indian 
country ; and when the old initiators or Indian priests 
are told of it, they shake their heads in incredulity that a 
white man should ever have been allowed in truth to be- 
come a member of their Me-da-we lodge. 

An entrance into the lodge itself, while the ceremonies 
are being enacted, has sometimes been granted through 
courtesy ; but this does not initiate a person into the mys- 
teries of the creed, nor does it make him a member of the 

Amongst the Ojibways, the secrets of this grand rite are 
as sacredly kept as the secrets of the Masonic Lo;lge 
among the whites. Fear of threatened and certain death, 
either by poison or violence, seals the lips of the Me-da-we 
initiate, and this is the potent reason why it is still a 
secret to the white man, and why it is not more generally 

Missionaries, travellers, and transient sojourners amongst 
the Ojibways, who have witnessed the performance of the 
grand Me-da-we ceremonies, have represented and published 
that it is composed of foolish and unmeaning ceremonies. 
The writer begs leave to say that these superficial obser- 
vers labor under a great mistake. The Indian has equal 
right, and may with equal truth (but in his utter ignorance 
is more excusable), to say, on viewing the rites of the 



Catholic and other churches, that they consist of unmean- 
ing and nonsensical ceremonies. There is much yet to be 
learned from the wild and apparently simple son of the 
forest, and the most which remains to be learned is to be 
derived from their religious beliefs. 

In the Me-da-we rite is incorporated most that is ancient 
amongst them — songs and traditions that have descended, 
not orally, but in hieroglyphics, for at least a long line of 
generations. In this rite is also perpetuated the purest and 
most ancient idioms of their language, which differs some- 
what from that of the common e very-day use. And if 
comparisons are to be made between the language of the 
Ojibways and the other languages, it must be with their 
religious idiom. 

The writer has learned enough of the religion of the 
Ojibways to strengthen his belief of the analogy with the 
Hebrews. They assert that the Me-da-we rite was granted 
them by the Great Spirit in a time of trouble and death, 
through the intercession of Man-ab-osho, the universal 
uncle of the An-ish-iu-aub-ag. Certain rules to guide 
their course in life were given them at the same time, and 
are represented in hieroglyphics. These great rules of life, 
which the writer has often heard inculcated by the Me- 
da-we initiators in their secret teachings to their novices, 
bear a strong likeness to the ten commandments revealed 
by the Almighty to the children of Israel, amidst the 
awful lightning and thunder of Mount Sinai. 

They have a tradition telling of a great pestilence, which 
suddenly cut off many while encamped in one great 
village. They were saved by one of their number, to 
whom a spirit in the shape of a serpent discovered a certain 
root, which to this day they name the Ke-na-big-wushk or 
snakeroot. The songs and rites of this medicine are in- 
corporated in the Me-da-we. The above circumstance 
is told to have happened when the " earth was new/ 7 



and taking into consideration the lapse of ages, and their 
being greatly addicted to figurative modes of expression, 
this tradition bears some resemblance to the plague of the 
children of Israel in the wilderness, which was stopped by 
means" of the brazen serpent of Moses. 

The Ojibway pin-jig-o-saun, or as we term it, " medicine 
bag," contains all which he holds most sacred ; it is pre- 
served with great care, and seldom ever allowed a place in 
the common wigwam, but is generally left hanging in the 
open air on a tree, where even an ignorant child dare not 
touch it. The contents are never displayed without much 
ceremony. This too, however distant, still bears some 
analogy to the receptacle of the Holy of Holies of the 

I have learned from people who have been resident 
amongst them, that the tribe known as the Blackfeet, living 
above the sources of the Missouri, practise a custom which 
bears a still stronger likeness to the sacred ark and priest- 
hood, as used of old in Israel. The Blackfeet, by com- 
paring portions of their language which has been pub- 
lished by the persevering Father de Smet, and portions 
that I have learned verballv from others, with the lans-uasre 
of the Ojib ways, has convinced me that they belong to the 
same family of tribes, and may be denominated Algics. 
Any portion, therefore, of their customs which may have 
fallen under our observation, may be appropriately men- 
tioned here, to strengthen the grounds we have taken 
respecting their common origin. 

A man is appointed by the elders and chiefs of the 
Blackfeet every four years to take charge of the sacred 
pipe, pipestem, mat, and other emblems of their religious 
beliefs. A lodge is allotted for his especial use, to contain 
these emblems and articles pertaining to his oflice. Four 
horses are given him to pack these things from place to 
place, following the erratic movements of the camp. This 



functionary is obliged to practise seven fasts, and to live 
during the term of his priesthood in entire celibacy. Eveu 
if he possesses a family, on his appointment as " Great 
Medicine" he must separate from them during his term, 
and the public supports them. All religious councils are 
held in his lodge, and disputes are generally adjusted by 
him as judge. His presence and voice are sufficient to quell 
all domestic disturbance, and altogether he holds more 
actual power and influence than even the civil and war 
chiefs. His face is always painted black, and he wears his 
hair tied in a large knot over his forehead, and through 
this knot is passed a sharp stick with which he scratches 
his body, should he have occasion, for he is not to use his 
finger nails for this purpose. Xone but he can or dare 
handle the sacred pipe and emblems. At the end of his 
term the tribe presents him with a new lodge, horses, and 
so forth, wherewith to commence life anew. 

It cannot but strike the attention of an observer, that 
this custom, this peculiar personage with his lodge and 
sacred emblems, among the roving sons of the prairies, 
resembles forcibly the ark and high priesthood of the 
wandering Israeli ces of old. I wish again to remark that 
the fact of this custom being in use among the Blackfeet, 
has not been obtained under my own personal observation, 
and therefore I cannot vouch fully for its truth. Having 
learned it, however, of persons of undoubted veracity, I 
have deemed it worthy of insertion here. It was corrobo- 
rated to me during the summer of 1849, by Paul Kane, Esq., 
a Canadian gentleman, 1 while stopping at my house at 
Crow Wing on the Mississippi, with Sir Edward Poor and 

1 Paul Kane was an artist of Toronto. In the Parliament Library of the 
Dominion of Canada, at Ottawa, are twelve of his oil paintings representing 
Indian life toward the Rocky Mountains. In 1859 a book from his pen was 
published in London, with the title Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians 
of North America, from Canada tu Van Corner's Island and Oregon. — £. D 2#L 



others, en route for Selkirk's Settlement, Oregon and Cali- 
fornia. He appeared a learned and much travelled man, 
and having been during the course of former travels, and 
during a long connection with the Hudson Bay Company, 
a sojourner more or less among the Blackfeet, he had 
learned of the existence of the above peculiar custom. 

Another peculiar trait among the Algics is that which 
has already been fully dwelt upon under the head of their 
Totemic division. There is nothing to which I can com- 
pare the purity and rigid conformity with which this 
division into families has been kept for centuries and pro- 
bably ages, amongst the Ojibways, as the division of the 
Hebrews into tribes, originating from the twelve sons of 
Jacob. Another peculiarity which has most forcibly struck 
my mind as one worthy of notice, and which in feet first 
drew my attention to this subject, is the similitude which 
exists between the oral traditions and lodge stories of the 
Ojibways with the tales of the Hebrew patriarchs in the 
Old Testament. 

They tell one set of traditions which treat of the adven- 
tures of eight, ten, and sometimes twelve brothers. The 
youngest of these brothers is represented in the many tra- 
ditions which mention them, as the w r isest and most be- 
loved of their father, and lying under the special guardian- 
ship of the Great Spirit. In one tradition under the name 
of Wa-jeeg-e-wa-kon-ay (Fisher skin coat) he delivers his 
brethren from divers difficulties entailed on them from 
their own folly and disobedience. In another tradition he 
is made to supply his brethren with corn. The name of 
the father is sometimes given as Ge-tub-e. The similarity 
between these and other traditions, with the Bible stories 
of Jacob and his twelve sons, cannot fail to attract the at- 
tention of any person who is acquainted with both ver- 

The tradition of the deluge, and traditions of wars 



between the different Totemic clans, all bear an analogy 
with tales of the Bible. 

To satisfy my own curiosity I have sometimes inter- 
preted to their old men, portions of Bible history, and 
their expression is invariably : " The book must be true, 
for our ancestors have told us similar stories, generation 
after generation, since the earth was new." It is a bold 
assertion, but it is nevertheless a true one, that were the 
traditions of the Ojibways written in order, and published 
in a book, it would as a whole bear a striking resemblance 
to the Old Testament, and would contain no greater im- 
probabilities than may be accounted for by the loose man- 
ner in which these traditions have been perpetuated ; 
naturally losing force and truth in descending orally 
through each succeeding generation. Discard, then, al- 
together the idea of any connection existing or having 
existed between the Ojibways and the Hebrews, and it 
will be found difficult to account for all the similarities 
existing between many of their rites, customs, and beliefs. 
Notwithstanding all that has been and may be advanced 
to prove the Ojibways descended from the lost tribes of 
Israel, or at least, their once having had close communion 
with them, yet I am aware that there are many stubborn 
facts and arguments against it, the principal of which is 
probably their total variance in language. Never having 
studied the Hebrew language, I have not had the advan- 
tage of comparing with it the Ojibway, and on this point 
I cannot express any opinion. 

It is not supposable, however, that the ten lost tribes of 
Israel emigrated from the land of their captivity in one 
body, and proceeding direct to the eastern shores of Asia, 
crossed over to America (by some means which, through 
changes and convulsions in nature, have become extinct 
and unknown to the present age) there to resume the rites 
of their religion, practise the Mosaic Jaws, and isolated 



from the rest of mankind, perpetuated in their primitive 
purity their language and beliefs. 

On the contrary, if the Algics are really descendants of 
these tribes, it must be only from a portion of them, as rem- 
nants of the lost tribes have been discovered in the Xesto- 
rians of Asia. To arrive in America, these portions must 
have passed through strange and hostile tribes of people, and 
in the course of their long wanderings and sojourns amongst 
them, they might have adopted portions of their languages 
and usages, losing thereby the purity of their own. It is 
natural to surmise that they were driven and followed in- 
to America by hostile tribes of Asia, and that they have 
been thus driven and followed till checked by the waves 
of the broad Atlantic. This would account for the antag- 
onistical position in which they and the Dakotas were first 
discovered, and which, as the Algics are now being pressed 
back by the white race, on the track of their old emigra- 
tion, has again been renewed more deadly than ever. 
Truly are they a wandering and accursed race ! They now 
occupy a position wedged in as it were, between the on- 
ward resistless tide of European emigration, and the still 
powerful tribes of the 2s aud-o-wa-se-wug (" Like unto the 
Adders"), their inveterate and hereditary enemies. As a 
distinct people their final extinction appears inevitable, 
though their blood may still course on as long as mankind 

I cannot close these remarks on this subject (though they 
have already been lengthened further than was at first in- 
tended), without offering a few words respecting the belief 
of the Ojibways in a future state. Something can be de- 
ducted from this respecting their condition in former ages, 
and the direction from which they originally emigrated. 

"When an Ojibway dies, his body is placed in a grave, 
generally in a sitting posture, facing the west. With the 
body are buried all the articles needed in life for a journey. 



If a man, his gun, blanket, kettle, fire steel, flint and moc- 
casins; it' a woman, her moccasins, axe, portage collar, 
blanket and kettle. The soul is supposed to stand im- 
mediately after the death of the body, on a deep beaten 
path, which leads westward ; the first object he comes to 
in following this path, is the great Oda-e-min (Heart 
berry), or strawberry, which stands on the roadside like a 
hucce rock, and from which he takes a handful and eats on 
his way. He travels on till he reaches a deep, rapid stream 
of water, over which lies the much dreaded Ko-go-gaup-o- 
gun or rolling and sinking bridge ; once safely over this as 
the traveller looks back it assumes the shape of a huge 
serpent swimming, twisting and untwisting its folds across 
the stream. After camping out four nights, and travelling 
each day through a prairie country, the soul arrives in the 
land of spirits, where he finds his relatives accumulated 
since mankind was first created ; all is rejoicing, singing 
and dancing ; they live in a beautiful country interspersed 
with clear lakes and streams, forests and prairies, and 
abounding in fruit and game to repletion— in a word, 
abounding in all that the red man most covets in this life, 
and which conduces most to his happiness. It is that kind 
of a paradise which he only by his manner of life on this 
earth, is fitted to enjoy. AVithout dwelling further on this 
belief, which if carried out in all its details would occupy 
under the head of this chapter much unnecessary space, I 
will now state the conclusions which may possibly be 
educed from it. 

The Ojibway believes his home after death to lie west- 
ward. In their religious phraseology, the road of souls i3 
sometimes called Ke-wa-kun-ah, "Homeward road." It 
is, however, oftener named Che-ba-kun-ah (road of souls). 
In the ceremony of addressing their dead before depositing 
them in the grave, I have often heard the old men use the 
word Ke-go-way-se-kah (you are going homeward). This 



road is represented as passing mostly through a prairie 

Is it not probable from these beliefs that ages ago the 
Ojibways resided westward, and occupied a country u flow- 
ing in milk and honey " — a country abounding in all 
that tends to their enjoyment and happiness, and to which 
they look back as the tired traveller on a burning desert 
looks back to a beautiful oasis which he has once parsed, 
or as the lonely wanderer looks back to the once happy 
home of his childhood? May they not forcibly have been 
driven from this former country by more powerful nations — 
have been pressed east and still further eastward from 
Asia in to America, and over its whole extent, arrested 
by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean ? And, like a receding 
wave, they have turned their faces westward towards their 
former country, within the past four centuries forced back 
by European discovery and immigration. 

With their mode of transmitting traditions from father 
to son orally, it is natural to suppose that their present 
belief in the westward destination of the soul has origi- 
nated from the above-surmised era in their ancient history. 
And the tradition of a once happy home and country, being 
imperfectly transmitted to our times through long liues of 
generations, has at last merged into the simple and natural 
belief of a future state, which thoroughly pervades the 
Indian mind, and guides, in a measure, his actions in life, 
and enables him to smile at the approach of death. 

They have traditions connected with this belief which 
forcibly illustrate the surmises we have advanced. 

In conclusion, I will again remark that though I am fully 
aware that the subject, and much-disputed point, of the 
origin of the American Indian is far beyond my depth of 
understanding and limited knowledge, yet I have deemed 
it a duty to thus make known the facts embodied in this 
chapter, and ideas, however crude and conflicting with the 



received opinions of more learned authors. I offer them 
for what they may be worth, and if they be ever used 
towards elucidating this mystery by wise men who may 
make it an object of study and research, the end of making 
them public will be satisfactorily fulfilled. 

The analogies which have been noticed as existing 
between the Hebrew and Algic tribes have not struck my 
attention individually; others whom I have consulted, 
living as isolated among the Ojibways as I have been, 
holding daily communion with them, speaking their lan- 
guage, hearing their legends and lodge stories, and, withal, 
readers of the Bible, have fallen into the same belief, and 
this simple fact is itself full worthy of notice. 





Tradition of the sea-shell — Tradition of the otter— Separation of the Ojibways, 
Potta-wat-umees and Ottaways at the straits of Miehilimaciuac — Origin of 
their tribal names — Causes of their emigration from the Atlantic seaboard — 
Ojibways settle at Sault Ste. Marie — They separate into two divisions — 
Movements of the northern division — Traditional anecdote of the war 
between the Marten and the Omush-kas families — Movements of the southern 
division — Allegory of the cranes — Copper-plate register of the Crane family — 
Era of their first occupation of Point Shaug-a-waum-ik-ong — Tradition of 
the extermination of the Mundua tribe. 

The history of the Ojibway tribe, till within the past 
five centuries, lies buried in darkness and almost utter 
oblivion. In the preceding chapter we have feebly at- 
tempted to lift the veil which covers their past, by offering 
well-founded facts which can be excusably used in the 
formation of conjectures and probabilities. All is, however, 
still nothing but surmise and uncertainty, and what of 
this nature has been presented, has not been given, nor can 
it be considered as authentic history. We will now 
descend to times and events which are reached by their 
oral historic traditions, and which may be offered as certain, 
though not minute history. Through close inquiry and 
study of their vague "figurative traditions, we have dis- 
covered that the Ojibways have attained to their present 
geographical position, nearly in the centre of the ]S"orth 
American continent, from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, 
about the Gulf of the St. Lawrence River. The manner in 
which I first received a certain intimation of this fact, may 



illustrate it more forcibly to the reader, and is presented 
as follows : — 

I was once standing near the entrance of an Ojibway 
Me-da-we-gaun, more commonly known as the " Grand 
Medicine Lodge," while the inmates were busy in the per- 
formance of the varied ceremonies of this, their chief 
medical and religious rite. The lodge measured in length 
about one hundred feet, and fifteen in width, was but 
partially covered along the sides with green boughs of the 
balsam tree, and the outside spectator could view without 
hindrance the different ceremonies enacting within. On a 
pole raised horizontally above its whole length were hung 
pieces of cloth, calico, handkerchiefs, blankets, etc. — the 
offerings or sacrifice of the novice who was about to be 
initiated into the mysteries of the Me-da-we society. The 
lodge was full of men and women who sat in a row along 
both of its sides. Xone but those who were members of 
the society and who had regularly been initiated, were 
allowed to enter. They were dressed and painted in their 
best and most fancy clothing and colors, and each held 
in his hand the Me-da-wi-aun or medicine sack, which 
consisted of bird skins, stuffed otter, beaver and snake 

The novice in the process of initiation, sat in the centre 
on a clean mat facing the Me-cla-wautig, a cedar post 
planted in the centre of the lodge, daubed with vermilion 
and ornamented with tufts of birds' down. The four old 
and grave-looking \Te-kauns, or initiating priests, stood 
around him with their medicine sacks, drums, and rattles. 

As I partially understood, and could therefore appreciate, 
the meaning and objects of their strange ceremonies, and 
could partially understand their peculiar religious idiom, 
I stood, watched, and listened with a far deeper interest 
than could be felt in the mind of a mere casual observer, 
who is both unacquainted with the objects of the rites or 



language of these simple children of nature, and who, in 
his greater wisdom, deems it but the unmeaning mum- 
mery and superstitious rites of an ignorant race, buried in 
heathenish darkness. 

One of the four We-kauns, after addressing a few re- 
marks to the novice in a low voice, took from his medicine 
sack, the Me-da-me-gis, a small white sea-shell, which is 
the chief emblem of the Me-da-we rite. Holding this on 
the palm of his hand, he ran slowly around the inside of 
the lodge, displaying it to the inmates, and followed by 
his fellow We-kauns swinging their rattles, and exclaiming 
in a deep guttural tone, u whe, whe, whe.*' Circling the 
lodge in this impressive manner, on coming again to the 
novice, they stopped running, uttering a deep, sonorous, 
" Whay-ho-ho-ho." They then quietly • walked off, and 
taking their stand at the western end of the lodge, the 
leader still displaying the shell on the palm of his hand, 
delivered a loud and spirited harangue. 

The language and phrases used were so obscure to a 
common listener, that it would be impossible to give a 
literal translation of the whole speech. The following- 
passage, however, forcibly struck my attention : 

" While our forefathers were living on the great salt 
water toward the rising sun, the great Megis (sea-shell) 
showed itself above the surface of the great water, and 
the rays of the sun for a long period were reflected from 
its glossy back. It gave warmth and light to the An-ish- 
in-aub-ag (red race). All at once it sank into the deep, 
and for a time our ancestors were not blessed with its light. 
It rose to the surface and appeared again on the great river 
which drains the waters of the Great Lakes, and again for 
a long time it gave life to our forefathers, and reflected 
back the rays of the sun. Again it disappeared from sight 
and it rose not, till it appeared to the eyes of the An-ish- 
in-aub-ag on the shores of the first great lake. Again it 



sank from sight, and death daily visited the wigwams of 
our forefathers, till it showed its back, and reflected the 
rays of the sun once more at Bow-e-ting (Sault Ste. Marie). 
Here it remained for a long time, hut once more, and for 
the last time, it disappeared, and the An-ish-in-aub-ag was 
left in darkness and misery, till it floated and once more 
showed its bright back at Mo-ning-wun-a-kaun-ing (La 
Pointe Island), where it has ever since reflected back the 
rays of the sun, and blessed our ancestors with life, light, 
and wisdom. Its rays reach the remotest village of the 
wide spread Ojibways." As the old man delivered this 
talk, he continued to display the shell, which he represented 
as the emblem of the great megis of which he was speak- 

A few days after, anxious to learn the true meaning of 
this allegory, I proceeded one evening to the lodge of the 
old priest, and presenting him with some tobacco and cloth 
for a pair of leggings (which is an invariable custom when 
any genuine information is wanted of them, connected with 
their religious beliefs), I requested him to explain to me 
the meaning of his Me-da-we harangue. 

After filling his pipe and smoking of the tobacco I had 
presented, he proceeded to give me the desired information 
as follows : — 

" My grandson," said he, "the megis I spoke of, means 
the Me-da-we religion. Our forefathers, many string of 
lives ago, lived on the shores of the Great Salt ^Vater in 
the east. Here it was, that while congregated in a great 
town, and while they were suffering the ravages of sick- 
ness and death, the Great Spirit, at the intercession of Man- 
ab-o-sho, the great common uncle of the' An-ish-in-aub-ag, 
granted them this rite wherewith life is restored and pro- 
longed. Our forefathers moved from the shores of the 
great water, and proceeded westward. The Me-da-we 
lodge was pulled down and it was not again erected, till 



our forefathers again took a stand on the shores of the great 
river near where Mo-ne-aung (Montreal) now stands. 

" In the course of time this town was again deserted, and 
our forefathers still proceeding westward, lit not their fires 
till they reached the shores of Lake Huron, where again 
the rites of the Me-da-we were practised. 

" Again these rites were forgotten, and the Me-da-we 
lodge was not built till the Ojibways found themselves 
congregated at Bow-e-ting (outlet of Lake Superior), where 
it remained for many winters. Still the Ojibways moved 
westward, and for the last time the Me-da-we lodge was 
erected on the Island of La Pointe, and here, long before 
the pale face appeared among them, it was practised in its 
purest and most original form. Many of our fathers lived 
the full term of life granted to mankind by the Great 
Spirit, and the forms of many old people were mingled 
with each rising generation. This, my grandson, is the 
meaning of the words you did not understand ; they have 
been repeated to us by our fathers for many generations."' 

Thus was it that I first received particular corroborating- 
testimony to the somewhat mooted point of the direction 
from which the Ojibways have reached their present geo- 
graphical position. It is only from such religious and 
genuine traditions that the fact is to be ascertained. The 
common class of the tribe who are spread in numerous 
villages north and west of Lake Superior, when asked 
where they originally came from, make answer that they 
originated from Mo-ning-wuna-kaun-ing (La Pointe), and 
the phrase is often used in their speeches to the whites, 
that " Mo-ning-wuna-kaun-ing" is the spot on which the 
Ojibway tribe first grew, and like a tree it has spread its 
branches in every direction, in the bands that now occupy 
the vast extent of the Ojibway earth; and also that " it is 
the root from which all the far scattered villages of the 
tribe have sprung." 



A superficial inquirer would be easily misled by these 
assertions, and it is only through such vague and figura- 
tive traditions as the one we have related, that any degree 
of certainty can be arrived at, respecting their position 
and movements prior to the time when the tribe first lit 
their central fire, and built their Me-da-we lodge on the 
Island of La Pointe. 

There is another tradition told by the old. men of the 
Ojibway village of Fond du Lac — Lake Superior, which 
tells of their former residence on the shores of the great 
salt water. It is, however, so similar in character to the 
one I have related, that its introduction here would oc- 
cupy unnecessary space. The only difference between the 
two traditions, is that the otter, which is emblematical of 
one of the four Medicine spirits, who are believed to pre- 
side over the Medawe rites, is used in one, in the same 
figurative manner as the sea-shell is used in the other ; first 
appearing to the ancient An-ish-in-aub-ag from the depths 
of the great salt water, again on the river St. Lawrence, 
then on Lake Huron at Sault Ste. Marie, again at La Pointe, 
but lastly at Fond du Lac, or end of Lake Superior, where 
it is said to have forced the sand bank at the mouth of the 
St. Louis River. The place is still pointed out by the 
Indians where they believe the great otter broke through. 

It is comparatively but a few generations back, that 
this tribe have been known by their present distinctive 
name of Ojibway. It is certainly not more than three 
centuries, and in all probability much less. It is only 
within this term of time, that they have been disconnected 
as a distinct or separate tribe from the Ottaways and 
Potta-wat-um-ies. The name by which they were known 
when incorporated in one body, is at the present day un- 

The final separation of these three tribes took place at 
the Straits of Michilimacinac from natural causes, and the 



partition has been more and more distinctly defined, and 
perpetuated through locality, and by each of the three 
divided sections assuming or receiviug distinctive appella- 
tions : — 

The Ottaways remaining about the spot of their final 
separation, and being thereby the most easterly section, 
were first' discovered by the white race, who bartered with 
them their merchandise for furs. They for many years 
acted as a medium between the white traders and their 
more remote western brethren, providing them in turn at 
advanced prices, with their much desired commodities. 
They thus obtained the name of Ot-tah-way, " trader," 
which they have retained as their tribal name to the 
present day. The Potta-wat-um-ees moved up Lake 
Michigan, and by taking with them, or for a time per- 
petuating the national fire, which according to tradition was 
sacredly kept alive in their more primitive days, they have 
obtained the name of " those who make or keep the fire," 
which is the literal meaning of their tribal cognomen. 

The Ojibways, pressing northward and westward, were 
soon known as an important and distinctive body or tribe, 
and meeting with fierce and inveterate enemies, the name 
of Ojibway, " to roast till puckered up," they soon obtained 
through practising the old custom of torturing prisoners 
of war by fire, as has already been mentioned more fully 
in a previous chapter. The original cause of their emigra- 
tion from the shores of the Atlantic westward to the area 
of Lake Superior, is buried in uncertainty. If pressed or 
driven back by more powerful tribes, which is a most 
probable conjecture, they are not willing to acknowledge 
it. 1 

From the earliest period that their historical traditions 
treat of, they tell of having carried on an exterminating 

1 See History of Ojibways based upon documents, in this volume. 



war with the Iroquois, or Six Nations of New York, 
whom they term Naud-o-waig, or Adders. The name 
indicates the deadly nature of these, their old and power- 
ful antagonists, whose concentrated strength and numbers, 
and first acquaintance with the use of the white man's 
murderous fire arms, caused them to leave their ancient 
village sites and seek westward for new homes. 

Sufficient has been seen and written since their discovery 
by the white race, of the antagonistical position of these 
two different families, or group of tribes, to prove the 
certainty of the above surmise. The name of Naud-o-wa- 
se-wug, which is sometimes applied to the Dakotas by the 
Ojibways, is derived from the name by which they have 
ever known the Iroquois. — Naud-o-waig ; it implies "our 
enemies," but literally, means " like unto the adders." 
Various definitions have been given to this name by 
different writers ; the above is now presented as the only 
true one. 

It is a well-authenticated fact traditionally, that at the 
Falls of Sault Ste. Marie, the outlet of Lake Superior, 
the Ojibways, after separating from the Ottaways and 
Pottawatumees, made a long and protracted stay. Their 
village occupied a large extent of ground, and their war- 
parties numbered many warriors who marched eastward 
against the Naudoways, and westward against the Dakotas, 
with whom at this point they first came into collision. 

At this point the Ojibway tribe again separated into 
two divisions, which we will designate as the Northern 
and Southern. The Northern division formed the least 
numerous body, and consisted chiefly of the families 
claiming as Totems the reindeer, lynx, and pike. They 
proceeded gradually to occupy the north coast of Lake 
Superior, till they arrived at the mouth of Pigeon River 
(Kah-mau-a-tig-wa-aug). From this point they have 
spread over the country they occupy at the present day 


along the British and United States line, and north, fur 
into the British possessions. A large band early occupied 
and formed a village at Rainy Lake. Here they first 
came in contact with the Assineboins (a tribe of seceding 
Bakotas), and from this point, after entering into a firm 
and lasting peace with the Assineboins and Knis-te-nos, 
they first joined their brethren of the Southern division 
in their wars against the fierce Bakotas. This band have 
to this day retained the cognomen of Ko-je-je-win-in-e-wug, 
from the numerous straits, bends, and turnings of the 
lakes and rivers which they occupy. 

A large body of this Northern division residing imme- 
diately on the north shores of the Great Lake, at Grand 
Portage and Thunder Bay, and claiming the Totem of the 
Ke-nouzhay or Pike, were formerly denominated O-mush- 
kas-ug. Tradition says that at one time their fellow- 
Ojibways made war on them. This war was brought 
about by persons belonging to the Pike family murdering 
some members of the Marten Totem family. It was but 
the carrying out of their custom of " blood for blood.'' 
It was neither very deadly nor of long duration, and to 
illustrate its character more fully, I will introduce the fol- 
lowing traditional anecdote : — 

A party consisting of warriors belonging to the Martin 
family was at one time collected at Fond du Lac. They 
proceeded on the war-path against the family of the 
Omush-kas, living on the north shore of the Great Lake, 
for this family had lately spilled their blood. They dis- 
covered a single wigwam standing on the sandy shores of 
the lake, and the Martens, having stealthily approached, 
raised the war-whoop, and as was the custom in battle (to 
show their greater manhood), they threw off every article 
of clothing, and thus, perfectly naked, rushed furiously 
to the attack. The Omush-kas, head of the family occu- 
pying the threatened lodge, was busy arranging his fish- 



net, and not aware that war had been declared, he paid no 
attention to his yelling visitors, but calmly continued his 
peaceful occupation. 

One of the Martens, rushing into the lodge, and, throw- 
ing his arms about him, exclaimed, " Ene-ne-nin-duk-o-nah" 
(a man I hold), meaning that he took him captive. 

The simple Omushkas, looking up, merely remarked, 
" Let me go ; you are tangling my net." Still the Marten, 
keeping his hold, more loudly exclaimed, " Ene-ne-nin- 
duk-o-nah." The Omushkas, now perceiving his naked- 
ness, grasped a sensitive part of his person, in turn jok- 
ingly exclaimed, " Xin-sah-eta-in-ne-ne-nin-duk-o-nah " 
(" 'tis only I who truly hold a man"), and the simple man 
continued to consider the attack as a mere farce. The 
war-club, however, of the enraged Marten now descended 
with fearful force on his head, and he died exclaiming, 
" Verily they are killing me." 

A considerable body of the Northern Ojibways are de- 
nominated by their fellow-tribesmen Sug-wau-dug-ah-win- 
in-e-wug (men of the thick tirwoods), derived from the 
interminable forests of balsam, spruce, pine, and tamarac 
trees which cover their hunting-grounds. Their early 
Frerich discoverers named them " Bois Forts," or Hard- 

Another section forming the most northern branch of 
this tribe are denominated Omushke-goes (Swamp-people), 
derived also from the nature of the country they occup}\ 

The ISTorthern division, which comprises these different 
sections, having been separated from the main body of the 
tribe forming the Southern division, now upwards of eight 
generations, a difference (though not a radical one), has 
become perceptible in their common language. This con- 
sists mostly in the pronunciation, and so slight is the 
difference in idiom that one good interpreter, speaking the 
language of each division, may suffice for both. 



The characteristics, also of the northern section of the 
tribe, differ materially in some important respects from 
those of their southern and western brethren. Xot having 
been opposed by enemies in the course of their northern 
emigration, they are consequently not warlike, and the 
name of Waub-ose (Rabbit), is often applied to them by 
their more warlike fellows, on account of their mild and 
harmless disposition. 

At the partition of the Ojibway tribe into two divisions, 
at Sault Ste. Marie, the main body pressed their way 
gradually up along the southern shores of Lake Superior. 
They made a temporary stand at Grand Island, near the 
Pictured Rocks, again at L'Anse Bay, or as they more 
euphoniously name it, We-qua-dong. This grand division 
consisted principally of the Crane Totem family, the Bear, 
the Catfish, the Loon, and the allied Marten and Moose 
clans. These great families with their several branches, 
form at least eight-tenths of the whole Ojibway tribe. 

The Cranes claim the honor of first having pitched their 
wigwams, and lighted the fire of the Ojibways, at Shaug- 
ah-waum-ik-ong, a sand point or peninsula lying two miles 
immediately opposite the Island of La Pointe. This fact is 
illustrated by the following highly allegorical and charac- 
teristic tradition : — 

As a preliminary remark, it is necessary to state that 
there exists quite a variance between three or four of the 
principal Totems, as to which is hereditarily entitled to the 
chief place'in the tribe. 

At a council (in which the writer acted as interpreter), 
held some years ago at La Pointe, between the principal 
chiefs of the Ojibways and the United States Government 
Agent, the following allegory was delivered by an old 
chief named Tug-waug-aun-ay, in answer to the mooted 
question of u who was the hereditary chief of La Pointe?'' 

Ke-che-wash-keenh (Great Buffalo), the grandson of the 



celebrated chief Au-daig-we-os (mentioned in Schoolcraft's 
works), head of the Loon Totem clan, was at this time, 
though stricken with years, still in the prime of his great 
oratorical powers. 

On this occasion he opened the council by delivering a 
most eloquent harangue in praise of his own immediate 
ancestors, and claiming for the Loon family the first place 
and chieftainship among the Ojibways. After he had 
finished and again resumed his seat, Tug-waug-aun-ay, the 
head chief of the Crane family, a very modest and retiring 
man, seldom induced to speak in council, calmly arose, and 
gracefully wrapping his blanket about his body, leaving 
but the right arm free, he pointed toward the eastern skies, 
and exclaimed : u The Great Spirit once made a bird, and 
he sent it from the skies to make its abode on earth. The 
bird came, and when it reached half way down, among 
the clouds, it sent forth a loud and far sounding cry, which 
was heard by all who resided on the earth, and even by 
the spirits who make their abode within its bosom. AVhen 
the bird reached within sight of the earth, it circled slowly 
above the Great Fresh Water Lakes, and again it uttered 
its echoing cry. Nearer and nearer it circled, looking for 
a resting place, till it lit on a hill overlooking Boweting 
(Sault Ste. Marie); here it chose its first resting place, 
pleased with the numerous white fish that glanced and 
swam in the clear waters and sparkling foam of the rapids. 
Satisfied with its chosen seat, again the bird sent forth its 
loud but solitary cry ; and the Xo-kaig (Bear clan), A- 
waus-e-wug (Catfish), Ah-auh-wauh-ug (Loon), and Mous-o- 
neeg (Moose and Marten clan), gathered at his call. A large 
town was soon congregated, and the bird whom the Great 
Spirit sent presided over all. 

" Once again it took its flight, and the bird flew slowly 
over the waters of Lake Superior. Pleased with the sand 
point of Shaug-ah-waum-ik-ong, it circled over it, and 



viewed the numerous fish as they swam ahout in the clear 
depths of the Great Lake. It lit on Shaug-ah-waum-ik-ong, 
and from thence again it uttered its solitary cry. A voice 
came from the calm bosom of the lake, in answer ; the bird 
pleased with the musical sound of the voice, again sent 
forth its cry, and the answering bird made its appearance 
in the wampum-breasted Ah-auh-wauh (Loon). The bird 
spoke to it in a gentle tone, c Is it thou that gives answer 
to my cry?' The Loon answered, 4 It is 1/ The bird then 
said to him, c Thy voice is music — it is melody — it sounds 
sweet in my ear, from henceforth I appoint thee to answer 
my voice in Council. ' 

" Thus," continued the chief, " the Loon became the first 
in council, but he who made him chief was the Bus-in- 
aus-e (Echo Maker), or Crane. These are the words of my an- 
cestors, who, from generation to generation, have repeated 
them into the ears of their children. I have done." 

The old man took his seat in silence, and not a chief in 
that stricken and listening crowd arose to gainsay his 
words. All understood the allegory perfectly well, and as 
the curling smoke of their pipes arose from the lips and 
nostrils of the quiet listeners, there ascended with it the 
universal whisper, " It is true ; it is true." 

As an explanation of the figures used in the above tra- 
ditional allegory, we will add, that the crane, commonly 
named in the Ojibway language Uj-e-jauk, is the symbol or 
totem of a large section of the tribe. This bird loves to 
soar among the clouds, and its cry can be heard when fiying 
above, beyond the orbit of human vision. From this " far- 
sounding cry" the family who claim it as their totem de- 
rive their generic name of Bus-in-aus-e-wug (Echo Makers). 
This family claim, by this allegory, to have been the first 
discoverers and pioneer settlers at Sault Ste. Marie, and 
again at Pt. Shaug-ah-waum-ik-ong. 

The Loon is the Totem also of a large clan. This bird 



is denominated by the Ojibways, Mong, but the family 
who claim it as their badge, are known by the generic name 
of Ah-auh-wauh, which is derived by imitating its peculiar 
cry. This family claim the hereditary first chieftainship 
in the tribe, but they cannot substantiate their pretensions 
further back than their first intercourse with the old 
French discoverers and traders, who, on a certain occasion, 
appointed some of their principal men as chiefs, and en- 
dowed them with flags and medals. Strictly confined to 
their own primitive tribal polity, the allegory of the 
Cranes cannot be controverted, nor has it ever been gain- 

To support their pretensions, this family hold in their 
possession a circular plate of virgin copper, on which is 
rudely marked indentations and hieroglyphics denoting 
the number of generations of the family who have passed 
away since they first pitched their lodges at Shaug-a- 
waum-ik-ong and took possession of the adjacent country, 
including the Island of La Pointe or Mo-ninof-wun-a- 

\Then I witnessed this curious family register in 1842, 
it was exhibited by Tug-waug-aun-ay to my father. The 
old chief kept it carefully buried in the ground, and sel- 
dom displayed it. On this occasion he only brought it to 
view at the entreaty of my mother, whose maternal uncle 
he was. Father, mother, and the old chief, have all since 
gone to the land of spirits, and I am the only one still liv- 
ing who witnessed, on that occasion, this sacred relic of 
former days. 

On this plate of copper was marked eight deep indenta- 
tions, denoting the number of his ancestors who had passed 
away since they first lighted their fire at Shaug-a-waum- 
ik-ong. They had all lived to a good old age. 

By the rude figure of a man with a hat on its head, 
placed opposite one of these indentations, was denoted the 



period when the white race first made his appearance 
among them. This mark occurred in the third generation, 
leaving five generations which had passed away since that 
important era in their history. 

Tug-waug-auu-ay was ahout sixty years of age at the 
time he showed this plate of copper, which he said had 
descended to him direct through a long line of ancestors. 
He died two years since, and his death has added the 
ninth indentation thereon ; making, at this period, nine 
generations since the Ojibways first resided at La Pointe, 
and six generations since their first intercourse with the 

From the manner in which they estimate their genera- 
tions, they may be counted as comprising a little over half 
the full term of years allotted to mankind, which will ma- 
terially exceed the white man's generation. The Ojib- 
ways never count a generation as passed away till the old- 
est man in the family has died, and the writer assumes 
from these, and other facts obtained through observation 
and inquiry, forty years as the term of an Indian genera- 
tion. It is necessary to state, however, for the benefit of 
those who may consider this as an over-estimate, that, since 
the introduction of intoxicating drinks and diseases of the 
whites, the former well-authenticated longevity of the In- 
dians has been materially lessened. 

According to this estimate, it is now three hundred and 
sixty years since the Ojibways first collected in one grand 
central town on the Island of La Pointe, and two hundred 
and forty years since they were first discovered by the 
white race. 

Seventy-seven years after, Jacques Cartier, representing 
the French nation, obtained his a first formal meeting with 
the Indians of the interior of Canada," and fifty-six years 
before Father Claude Allouez (as mentioned in Bancroft's 
History of America), first discovered the Ojibways congre- 



gated in the Bay of Shaug-a-waum-ik-ong, preparing to go 
on a war excursion against their enemies the Dakotas. 

From this period the Ojibways are traditionally well 
possessed of the most important events which have hap- 
pened to them as a tribe, and from nine generations back, 
I am prepared to give, as obtained from their most vera- 
cious, reliable, and oldest men, their history, which may 
be considered as authentic. 

In this chapter we have noted the course of their migra- 
tion's, which, in all likelihood, occupied nearly two centuries 
prior to their final occupation of the shores of Lake Supe- 

These movements were made while they were living in 
their primitive state, when they possessed nothing but the 
bow and arrow, sharpened stones, and bones of animals 
wherewith to kill wine and fight their enemies. During 


this period they were surrounded by inveterate foes, and 
war was their chief pastime; but so dreamy and confused 
are their accounts of the battles which their ancestors 
fought, and the exploits they enacted, that the writer has 
refrained from dwelling on them with any particularity. 
One tradition, however, is deemed full worthy of notice, 
and while offering it as an historical fact, it will at the 
same time answer as a specimen of the mythological char- 
acter of their tales which reach as far back as this period. 

During their residence in the East, the 0jibway3 have a 
distinct tradition of having annihilated a tribe whom they 
denominate Mun-dua. Their old men, whom I have ques- 
tioned on this subject, do not all agree in the location nor de- 
tails. Their disagreements, however, are not very material, 
and I will proceed to give, verbatim, the version of Kah- 
nin-dum-a-win-so, the old chief of Sandy Lake : 

" There was at one time living on the shores of a great 
lake, a numerous and powerful tribe of people ; they lived 
congregated j n ne single town, which was so large that a 



person standing on a hill which stood in its centre, could 
not see the limits of it. 

" This tribe, whose name was Mun-dua, were fierce and 
warlike ; their hand was against every other tribe, and the 
captives whom they took in war were burned with fire a3 
offerings to their spirits. 

"All the surrounding tribes lived in great fear of them, 
till their Ojibway brothers called them to council, and sent 
the wampum and warclub, to collect the warriors of all the 
tribes with whom they were related. A war party was 
thus raised, whose line of warriors reached, as they marched 
in single file, as far as the eye could see. They proceeded 
against the great town of their common enemy, to put out 
their fire forever. They surrounded and attacked them 
from all quarters where their town was not bounded by 
the lake shore, and though overwhelming in their numbers, 
yet the Mun-dua had such confidence in their own force 
and prowess, that on the first day, they sent only their 
boys to repel the attack. The boys being defeated and 
driven back, on the second day the young men turned out 
to beat back their assailants. Still the Ojibways and their 
allies stood their ground and gradually drove them in, till 
on the eve of the second day, they found themselves in pos- 
session of half the great town. The Mun-duas now became 
awake to their danger, and on the third day, beginning to 
consider it a serious business, their old and tried warriors, 
4 mighty men of valor/ sang their war songs, and putting 
on their paints and ornaments of battle, they turned out to 
repel their invaders. 

"The fight this dav was hand to hand. There is nothing 
in their traditionary accounts, to equal the fierceness of the 
struggle described in this battle. The bravest men, prob- 
ably, in America, had met — one party fighting for ven- 
geance, glory, and renown ; and the other for everything 
dear to man, home, family, for very existence itself! 



" The Mun-dua were obliged at last to give way, and hotly 
pressed by their foes, women and children threw them- 
selves into, and perished in the lake. At this juncture 
their aged chief, who had witnessed the unavailing defence 
of his people, and who saw the ground covered with the 
bodies of his greatest warriors, called with a loud voice on 
the 4 Great Spirit' for help (for besides being chief of the 
Mdn-duas, he was also a great medicine man and jug- 

" Being a wicked people, the Great Spirit did not listen 
to the prayer of their chief for deliverance. The aged 
medicine man then called upon the spirits of the water 
and of the earth, who are the under spirits of the ' Great 
Spirit of Evil,' and immediately a dark and heavy fog 
arose from the bosom of the lake, and covered in folds of 
darkness the site of the vanquished town, and the scene of 
the bloody battle. The old chieftain by his voice gathered 
together the remnants of his slaughtered tribe, and under 
cover of the Evil Spirit's fog, they left their homes forever. 
The whole day and ensuing night they travelled to escape 
from their enemies, until a gale of wind, which the medi- 
cine men of the Ojibways had asked the Great Spirit to 
raise, drove away the fog; the surprise of the fleeing Mun- 
duas was extreme when they found themselves standing 
on a hill back of their deserted town, and in plain view of 
their enemies. 

"'It is the will of the Great Spirit that we should 
perish,' exclaimed their old chief ; but once more they 
dragged their wearied limbs in hopeless flight. They ran 
into an adjacent forest where they buried the women and 
children in the ground, leaving but a small aperture to 
enable them to breathe. The men then turned back, and 
once more they met their pursuing foes in a last mortal 
combat. They fought stoutly for a while, when again 
overpowered by numbers, they turned and fled, but in a 



different direction from the spot where they had secreted 
their families : but a few men escaped, who afterward re- 
turned, and disinterred the women and children. This 
small remnant of a once powerful tribe were the next year 
attacked by an Ojibway war-party, taken captive, and in- 
corporated in this tribe. Individuals are pointed out to 
this day who are of Mun-dua descent, and who are mem- 
bers of the respected family whose totem is the Marten." 





Congregation of the Ojibways in one town at Pt. Shag-awaiim-fk^bng and on 
La Pointe Island, till their final dispersion into smaller bands and villages — 
Comprising three generations — They first light their hi es on Pt. Shag-awaum- 
ik-ong — Harassed by the Dakotas and Foxes — They finally locate their town 
on the Island of La Pointe — Mode of gaining a livelihood — Primitive utensils 
and weapons — Means used to kill game — Copper mines of Lake Superior 
not worked by them — Primitive usages, rites, and customs — Severely har- 
assed by their enemies — Dakotas even secure scalps on the Island of their 
town — Battle of Pt. Shag-awaum-ik-ong and almost total destruction of a 
Dakota war party — Foxes take four captives on the island — Pursued by the 
Ojibways — Naval engagement near Montreal River — Destruction of Fox war 
party — Nature of the warfare between the Ojibways and Foxes — Captives 
are tortured with fire — Origin of this horrid custom — Tradition of the uncle 
and nephew. 

In the previous chapter we have gradually traced the 
Ojibways from the Atlantic coast, to their occupation of 
the surrounding shores of Lake Superior. 

Computing their generations as consisting of forty years 
each, it is three hundred and sixty years since the main 
body of this tribe first reached Pt. Sha-ga-waum-ik-ong on 
the Great Lake, where for many years they concentrated 
their numbers in one village. 1 

They were surrounded by fierce and inveterate enemies 
whom they denominate the O-dug-aum-eeg (opposite side 
people, best knowm at this clay as Foxes), and the 44 A-boin- 
ug" or (roasters), by which significant name they have ever 
known the powerful tribe of Dakotas. These two tribes 
claimed the country bordering Lake Superior, towards the 

1 For the tribes living at Chagouamigon Bay, 1660-1670, see another article 
in this volume. — N. 



south and west, and of which, the migrating Ojibways 
now took possession as intruders. The opposition to their 
further advance westward commenced when the Ojibways 
first lighted their fires at Sault Ste. Marie, and it is from 
their first acquaintance with them, while located at this 
spot, that the Dakotas have given them the appellation of 
Ra-ra-to-oans (People of the Falls). 

At every step of their westward advance along the 
southern shores of the Great Lake, the Ojibways battled 
with the Foxes and Dakotas; but they pressed onward, 
gaining foot by foot, till they finally lit their fires on the 
sand point of Sha-ga-waum-ik-ong. On this spot they re- 
mained not long, for they were harassed daily by their 
warlike foes, and for greater security they were obliged to 
move their camp to the adjacent island of Mon-ing-wun-a- 
kaun-ing (place of the golden-breasted woodpecker, but 
known as La Pointe). Here, they chose the site of their 
ancient town, and it covered a space about three miles long 
and two broad, comprising the western end of the island. 

The vestiges or signs to prove this assertion are still 
visible, and are especially observable in the young growth 
of trees now covering the spot, compared to trees sta.iding 
on other portions of the island where oaks and pines appa- 
rently centuries old, rear their branches aloft, or lie pros- 
trate on the ground. 

In the younger days of old traders and half-breeds still 
living, they tell of deep beaten paths being plainly visible 
in different parts of the island and even the forms of their 
ancient gardens, now overgrown with trees, could still be 
traced out. When my maternal grandfather, Michel 
Cadotte, first located a trading post on this island, now 
upwards of sixty years ago, these different signs and ves- 
tiges were still discernible, and I have myself noticed the 
difference in the growth of trees and other marks, as I 



have a thousand times wandered through this, the island 
of ray nativity. 

While hemmed in on this island by their enemies, the 
Ojibways lived mainly by fishing. They also practised the 
arts of agriculture to an extent not since known amongst 
them. Their gardens are said to have been extensive, and 
they raised large quantities of Mun-dam-in (Indian corn), 
and pumpkins. 

The more hardy and adventurous hunted on the lake 
shore opposite their village, which was overrun with moose, 
bear, elk, and deer. The buffalo, also, are said in those days 
to have ranged within half a day's march from the lake 
shore, on the barrens stretching towards the headwaters of 
the St. Croix River. Every stream which emptied into 
the lake, abounded in beaver, otter, and muskrat, and the 
fish which swam in its clear water could not be surpassed 
in quality or quantity in any other spot on earth. They 
manufactured their nets of the inner bark of the bass and 
cedar trees, and from the fibres of the nettle. They made 
thin knives from the rib bones of the moose and buffalo. 
And a stone tied to the end of a stick, with which they 
broke branches and sticks, answered them the purpose of 
an axe. From the thigh-bone of a muskrat they ground 
their awls, and fire was obtained by the friction of two dry 
sticks. Bows of hard wood, or bone, sharp stone-headed 
arrows, and spear points made also of bone, formed their 
implements of war and hunting. With ingeniously made 
traps and dead-falls, they caught the wily beaver, whose 
flesh was their most dainty food, and whose skins made 
them warm blankets. To catch the moose and larger 
animals, they built long and gradually narrowing inclosures 
of branches, wherein they would first drive and then kill 
them, one after another, with their barbed arrows. They 
also caught them in nooses made of tough hide and hung 
from a strong bent tree, over the road that these animals 



commonly travelled to feed, or find water. Bear they 
caught in dead-foils, which were so unfailing that they 
have retained their use to this day, in preference to the 
steel traps of the pale faces. 

Their old men tell of using; a kind of arrow in hunting 
for the larger animals in those primitive days, which I 
have never seen described in books. The arrow is made 
with a circular hole bored or burnt in the end, in which 
was loosely inserted a finely barbed bone. Being shot into 
an animal, the arrow would fall off leaving the barb in the 
body, and as the animal moved this would gradually work 
into its vitals and soon deprive it of life. 

In those days their shirts and leggins were made of 
finely dressed deer and elk skins sewed together with the 
sinews of these animals. They made their wigwam cover- 
ing of birch bark and rushes ; their canoes of birch bark 
and thin strips of cedar wood, sewed together with the 
small roots of the pine tree, and gummed with the pitch 
of the pine, balsam, or tamarac. They made kettles from 
clay and pulverized stone, and judging from specimens 
found occasionally throughout the country, they give evi- 
dence of much proficiency and ingenuity in this line of 
manufacture. Copper, though abounding on the lake 
shore, they never used for common purposes ; l considering 

1 The tribes of the lakes were workers in copper at an early period. Cham- 
plain in an account published in 1G13, at Paris, writes : il Shortly after confer- 
ring with them about many matters concerning their wars, the Algonquin 
Savage, one of their chiefs, drew from a sack a piece of copper a foot long, 
which he gave me. This was very handsome and quite pure. He gave me to 
understand that there were large quantities where he had taken this, which 
was on the bank of a river, now a great lake. He said they gathered it in 
lumps, and having melted it, spread it in sheets, smoothing it with stones." 

Pierre Boucher, the grandfather of Sieur Vcrendrye, the explorer of the Lake 
Winnipeg region, in a book published in 1664, at Paris, writes that " in Lake 
Superior there is a great island fifty leagues in circumference, in which there 
is a very beautiful mine of copper. There are other places in those quarters 
where there are similar mines ; so I learned from four or five Frenchmen, who 
lately returned. They were gone three years, without finding an opportunity 



it sacred, they used it only for medicinal rites, and for or- 
nament on the occasion of a grand Me-da-we. 

They are not therefore, the people whose ancient tools 
and marks are now being discovered daily by the miners 
on Lake Superior ; or, if they are those people, it must 
have been during a former period of their ancient history; 
but their preserving no traditional account of their ances- 
tors ever having worked these copper mines, would most 
conclusively prove that they are not the race whose signs 
of a former partial civilized state, are being daily dug up 
about the shores of the Great Lake. 

During this era in their history, some of their old men 
affirm that there was maintained in their central town, on 
the Island of La Pointe, a continual fire as a symbol of 
their nationality. They maintained also, a regular system 
of civil polity, which, however, was much mixed with 
their religious and medicinal practices. The Crane and 
Aw-ause Totem families were first in council, and the brave 
and unflinching warriors of the Bear family, defended them 
from the inroads of their numerous and powerful enemies. 

to~return; they told me they had seen an ingot of copper, all refined, -which 
was on the coast, and weighed more than eight hundred pounds, according to 
their estimate. They said that the savages, in passing it made a fire on it, 
after which they cut otf pieces with their axes." 

Isle Royale abounds in pits containing ashes, coals, stone hammers, and chips 
of copper, and in some places the scales of the fishes, which had been eaten by 
the ancient miners. The vein rock appears to have been heated by fire, and 
the water dashed thereon, by which the rock was fractured, and the exposed 
copper softened. 

Talon, Intendant of Justice in Canada, visited France, taking a voyageur with 
him, and while in Paris on the 26th of February, 1G69, wrote to Colbert, Minis- 
ter of the Colonial Department, "that this voyageur had penetrated among the 
western natives farther than any other man, and had seen the copper mine on 
Lake Huron," and on the 2d of November, 1071, Talon writes from Quebec : 
" The copper which I sent from Lake Superior and the river Nantaouagan 
[Ontonagon], proves that there is a mine on the border of some stream. More 
than twenty Frenchmen have seen one lump at the lake which they estimate 
weighs more than eight hundred pounds." Alexander Henry also alludes to 
topper working on Lake Superior. — E. D. N. 



The rites of the Me-da-we-win (their mode of worship- 
ping the Great Spirit, and securing life in this and a future 
world, and of conciliating the lesser spirits, who in their 
belief, peopb earth, sky, and waters) was practised in those 
days in its purest and most original form. Every person 
who had been initiated into the secrets of this mysterious 
society from the first to the eighth degree, were impera- 
tively obliged to be present on every occasion when its 
grand ceremonies were solemnized. This created yearly a 
national gathering, and the bonds which united one mem- 
ber to another were stronger than exist at the present day, 
when each village has assumed, at unstated periods, to per- 
form the ceremonies of initiation. Tradition says that a 
large wigwam was permanently erected in the midst of 
their great town, which they designated as the Me-da-we- 
gun, wherein the rites of their religion were performed. 
Though probably rude in its structure, and not lasting in 
its materials, yet was it the temple of a numerous tribe, 
and so sacredly was it considered, that even to this day, 
in their religious phraseology, the island on which it stood 
is known by the name of Me-da-we-gaun. 

In those days their native and primitive manners and 
usages were rigidly conformed with. Man nor woman 
never passed the age of puberty without severe and pro- 
tracted fasts, in which they sought communion with some 
particular guardian spirit whom they considered in the 
light of a medium spirit between them and the " One 
Great Master of Life," toward whom they felt .too deep a 
veneration, than to dare to commune with directlv. Sacri- 
ficial feasts were made with the first fruit of the field and 
the chase. When a person fell sick, a small lodcre wa3 
made, apart from the village, purposely for his sole use, 
and a medicine man summoned to attend and cure, and 
only he, held intercourse with the sick. If a person died 
of some virulent disease, his clothing, the barks that 



covered his lodge, and even the poles that framed it, were 
destroyed by fire. Thus of old did they guard against pes- 
tilence ; and disease of all kinds appears to have been less 
common among them than at the present day ; and it is 
further stated that many more persons than now, lived out 
the full term of life allotted to mankind by the u Great 
Spirit." Many even lived with the M weight of over a 
hundred winters on their backs." 

The council of the Me-da-we initiators, partook of the 
spirit of the ten commandments which were given to the 
children of Israel, amidst the thunders of Mount Sinai. 
There was consequently less theft and lying, more devotion 
to the Great Spirit, more obedience to their parents, and 
more chastity in man and women, than exist at the pre- 
sent day, since their baneful intercourse with the white 
race. Even in the twenty years' experience of the writer, 
he has vividly noticed these changes, spoken of by the old 
men, as rapidly taking place. In former times there was 
certainly more good-will, charity, and hospitality practised 
toward one another ; and the widow and orphan never 
were allowed to live in want and poverty. The old tra- 
ditionists of the Ojibways, tell of many customs which 
have become nearly or altogether extinct. They dwell 
with pleasure on this era of their past history, and con- 
sider it as the happy days of " Auld lang syne. 7 ' 

I have already stated that they located their town on 
the island of La Pointe, for greater security against the 
harassing inroads of their enemies, but though the island is 
located at its nighest point, about two miles from the 
main shore of the Great Lake, yet were the Ojibways not 
entirely secure from the attacks of their inveterate and 
indefatigable foes, who found means, not only of waylay- 
ing their stray hunters on the main shore, but even to 
secure scalps on the island of their refuge itself. On one 
occasion a war party of Dakotas found their way to a point 


of the main shore directly opposite the western end of the 
island, and during the night, two of their number crossed 
over, a distance of two miles and a half, each swimming 
by the side of a log, and attacked a family who were fish- 
ing by torchlight along the eastern shore of the island. 

With four scalps, and the canoe of those they had killed, 
they returned to their friends, who immediately retreated, 
satisfied with their success. Early in the morning, the 
mangled bodies of the slain were discovered, and the Ojib- 
ways, collecting their warriors, made a long but unavailing 

Shortly after this occurrence, a party of one hundred and 
fifty Dakota warriors again found their way to the lake 
shore, and taking a position on the extreme point of Shag- 
a-waum-ik-ong, immediately opposite the Ojibway village, 
they laid in ambush for some stray enemy to come within 
their reach. Shag-a-waum-ik-ong is a narrow neck or point 
of land about four miles long, and lying nearly parallel to 
the island of La Pointe, toward the western end of which 
it converges, till the distance from point to point is not 
more than two miles. In former times the distance is said 
to have been much less, the action of the waves having 
since gradually washed away the sand of which it is com- 

It lays across the entry to a deep bay, and it has derived 
its name from the tradition that Man-ab-osho created it to 
bar the egress of a great beaver which he once hunted on 
the Great Lake, and which had taken refuge in this deep 
bay. The name signifies " The soft beaver dam," as the 
great beaver had easily broken through it, making the 
deep gap which now forms the entry of the bay. This 
point or peninsula does not average in width more than 
twenty rods, and in many places it is not more than six 
rods across. It is covered with a growth of scrubby oak 
and pine, and the extreme end where the Dakotas lay in 



ambush, is said in those days to have been covered with 
numerous sand hillocks, which the winds and waves have 
since nearly blown and washed away. 

Early one morning, two Ojibway lads crossed over to the 
point to hunt ducks : on landing they were attacked by 
the ambushed war-party of the Dakotas with loud yells. 
For some time the two youths, protected by the numerous 
sand-hills, defended themselves, and evaded the attempts 
of their enemies, who wished to take them captives. In 
the mean time, the Ojibway town being aroused by the 
distant yelling, and seeing the point covered with the 
forms of numerous men, the startling cry of Aboin-ug! 
Aboin-ug! was shouted from wigwam to wigwam, and 
the men of war, grasping their bows and arrows, spears 
and war-clubs, jumped into their canoes and paddled with 
great speed to the scene of action. They crossed over in 
two divisions, one party proceeding straight to the point 
where the Dakotas were still to be seen hunting the two 
lads, while the other party living at the lower end of the 
great village, crossed over to that portion of the peninsula 
lying nearest to their wigwams. These landed about two 
miles below the extreme point, and taking their position 
where Shag-a-waum-ik-ong is but a few rods wide, and 
covered with scrubby oaks, they entirely cut off the retreat 
or egress of the Dakotas. Meanwhile the two unfortunate 
boys had been dispatched and scalped ; but their friends 
who had crossed straight over from the village, landed on 
the point and proceeded to revenge their death, by bravely 
attacking the now retreating Dakotas. These being pressed 
by an enemy increasing in numbers every moment, turned 
their backs and fled down the point, merely keeping up a 
running fight, till they were met by the main body of the 
Ojibways who had collected in their rear, and cut them off 
effectually from escape. Discovering, too late, the fearful 
position which their rashness and want of foresight had 



brought them to, the Dakota warriors took shelter in a 
thick grove of scrubby oak, and fought to the last gasp. 
Overwhelmed by numbers, all were killed but two, who 
were seen to throw themselves into the lake and swim off 
towards the opposite shore of the deep ba}\ They were 
never heard of afterwards, but the probability is that by 
swimming two miles to the nearest point of the main shore, 
they saved their lives, and returned to their people with 
the sad tale of the almost total destruction of their war- 
party. Over the whole point of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, are 
still strewn small particles of bones, which are said to be 
the remains of the warriors who fell in this bloody fight. 

An anecdote is told of an old man, who was the father of 
one of the lads waylaid by the ambushed party on the 
point. He was not at home when the alarm was first 
sounded, and when he arrived, the warriors had all gone, 
and taken all the canoes belonging to the village. Burn- 
ing to know the fate of his beloved child, he lashed his 
weapons of war to his back, amd notwithstanding the en- 
treaties of the women, he threw himself into the lake, and 
swam over to the scene of action. He arrived too late to 
join in the fight, but he was ever afterward noted for this 
almost superhuman feat, and his name is preserved amongst 
his people even to this day. 

On another occasion a party of four hundred Fox war- 
riors floated down the Ontonagun River in their small 
inland bark canoes, and coasting along the lake shore, they 
landed in the night time on the island of La Pointe, and at 
early dawn in the morning, they succeeded in waylaying 
and capturing four young women who had gone from the 
village to cut wood. The spot is pointed out to this day, 
where they were taken. The Foxes satisfied with their 
success, hastily retreated to their canoes, and under cover 
of a dense fog, they silently paddled homeward. Confi- 
dent, however, in their numbers, and full of exultation at 



having bearded their enemies even on the island of their 
refuge, feeling also secure of escape in the fog, when still 
within hearing distance of the Ojihway village, they yelled 
back the whoop of derision and defiance, and commenced 
singing a stirring scalp song. 

The town of the Ojibways became instantly a scene of 
commotion, and the eager warriors quickly arming them- 
selves, hastily embarked in their large lake canoes, and 
silently but swiftly pursued their enemies under cover of 
the dense fog. 

The lake was perfectly calm, and they could hear the 
loud talking and laughter of the Foxes from a long dis- 
tance. Guided by the noise thus kept up by their careless 
and confident enemies, the Ojibways silently straining on 
their paddles, gradually neared them. By the wise advice 
of their leaders, they deferred the attack, till the Foxes had 
arrived opposite the rock-bound coast one mile below 
Montreal River, and twenty-two miles from La Pointe, 
where the steep and slippery banks would prevent them 
from making their escape by land. Here the Ojibways fell 
on them with great fury, and easily upsetting their small 
canoes, they dispatched the surprised and now fear stricken 
Foxes as they struggled in the water. They killed and 
drowned this large war-party, nearly to a man. 

This is the only naval engagement in which the Ojibways 
tell of ever having been engaged ; and their great success 
on this occasion, they attribute not only to superior numbers, 
but to the great advantage which they possessed in the 
size of their canoes, compared with those of the Foxes. 
Theirs were made large and strong, sitting firmly on the 
water, made to withstand the storms of Lake Superior, 
and capable of holding from five to twenty men each, while 
on the other hand, the canoes of their enemies, though 
made of the same material (birch bark), were constructed 
frail and crank, made to be taken across long portages on a 



man's head, and capable of containing but two or three 
persons. These, therefore, were easily upset, and their 
owners struggling in the deep water, were easily knocked 
on the head with war-clubs. 

These two successful battles materially strengthened the 
foothold which the Ojibways had obtained in this portion 
of the Lake Superior country. The Dakotas and Foxes 
received thereby a check on their war propensities, and 
they learned to respect the prowess and bravery of the 
Ojibways. Their war-parties to the lake shore became less 
frequent than formerly, and they were more cautious in 
their attacks. On the island of La Pointe, they never 
again secured scalp nor prisoner, for never again did they 
dare to land on it. 

The war carried on at this period between the Ojibways 
and Foxes, was fierce and bloody in the extreme, and it 
was marked w T ith every cruelty attendant on savage war- 
" fare. The Foxes tortured their captives in various ways, 
but principally by burning them by tire. Of old, the Ojib- 
ways did not practise these cruelties, and they only learned 
them at this period from the Foxes. The hellish custom 
of torturing prisoners with fire, originated amongst tbem 
as follows : — 

"A noted warrior of the Ojibways was once taken pri- 
soner by his own nephew, who was a young warrior of the 
Foxes, son of his own sister, who had been captured when 
young, adopted and married in this tribe. This young man, 
to show to the Foxes his utter contempt of any ties of 
blood existing between him and his Ojibway uncle, planted 
two stakes strongly in the ground, and taking his uncle by 
the arm, he remarked to him that he 4 wished to warm 
him before a good fire.' He then deliberately tied his 
arms and legs to the two stakes, as wide apart as they 
could be stretched, and the unnatural nephew built a huge 
lire in front of his uncle. When he had burnt his naked 



body to a blister on this side, he turned him with his back 
toward the fire, and when this had also been cruelly burned, 
he untied him, and turning him loose, he bade him to 
1 return home and tell the Ojibways how the Foxes treated 
their uncles.' " 

The uncle recovered from his fire wounds, and in a sub- 
sequent war excursion, he succeeded in capturing his cruel 
nephew. He took him to the village of the Ojibways, 
where he tied him to a stake, and taking a fresh elk skin, 
on which a layer of fat had purposely been left, he placed it 
over a fire till it became ablaze ; then throwing it over the 
naked shoulders of his nephew, he remarked. " Xephew, 
when you took me to visit the village of your people, you 
warmed me before a good fire. I now in return give you 
a warm mantle for your back." 

The elk skin, covered with thick fat, burned furiously, 
and " puckering," it tightened around the naked body of 
his nephew — a dreadful "mantle" which soon consumed 
him. 1 This act was again retaliated by the Foxes, and 
death by fire applied in various ways, soon became the fate 
of all unfortunate captives. 

* It is not unnatural to suppose that the tale of this occurrence being spread 
amongst the surrounding tribes, gave the name of Ojibway — " to roast till puck- 
ered up," to this tribe. Tribes have derived their names from circumstances 
of lesser note than this. — Author. 





Causes of the sudden evacuation of their ancient town, as given hy old 
traditionists — Different account obtaiued from old half-breeds and traders — 
Evil practices become in vogue — Poisoning — Feasts of human flesh — Ojib- 
ways fall under the power of their Satanic priesthood — Anecdote of the old 
man watching by the grave of his victimized child — The Ojibways become 
panic-stricken, and suddenly desert the island. 

For the space of three generations, or one hundred and 
twenty years, the Ojibways remained congregated on the 
island of La Pointe, in one extensive town. 

At the end of this period, we come to a dark chapter of 
their history, on which the old men dislike to linger. 
They are loth to tell the causes which led to the complete 
and sudden evacuation of their great village, and scattered 
them in bands and smaller villages on the adjacent shores 
of the Great Lake, and sent many families back on the 
track of their former migration to resettle the almost 
deserted villages of We-qua-dong and Bo-we-ting (Anee- 
ke-we-naw and Sault Ste. Marie). 

The old men from whom I have collected the annals of 
this tribe, the better to get over this fearful portion of 
their history, assert that the dispersion from the island, 
was the immediate consequence to their first knowledge of 
the white race. Through the medium of their more eas- 
tern co-tribes, who first obtained the commodities of the 
" white spirits, 7 ' they obtained a few guns and with this 
fearful weapon they all at once became formidable to their 
old enemies, the Dakotas and Foxes, whom they gradually 
drove from the vicinity of the lake shore, and caused to 
retreat inland toward the Mississippi. As the war parties 


of these tribes came less frequently to attack them, the 
Ojibways gained courage, and leaving La Pointe, they 
pitched their lodges in the adjacent Bay of Shaga-waum- 
ik-ong, and hunted, with comparative impunity, the larger 
animals which abounded in the vicinity. 

According to other accounts, the dispersion of the Ojib- 
ways from the island of their refuge, was sudden and entire. 
The Evil Spirit had found a strong foothold amongst them, 
during the latter years of their residence on this island. 
Evil practices became in vogue. — Horrid feasts on human 
flesh became a custom. It is said by my informants, that 
the medicine men of this period had come to a knowledge 
of the most subtle poisons, and they revenged the least 
affront with certain death. When the dead body of a 
victim had been interred, the murderer proceeded at night 
to the grave, disinterred it, and taking it to his lodge he 
made a feast of it, to the relatives, which was eaten during 
the darkness of midnight, and if any of the invited guests 
became aware of the nature of the feast, and refused to eat, 
he was sure to fall under the ill-will of the feaster, and 
become the next victim. It is said that if a young woman 
refused the addresses of one of these medicine men, she fell 
a victim to his poison, and her body being disinterred, 
her relatives were feasted on it by the horrid murderer. 

Such a taste did they at last acquire for human flesh, 
that parents dared not refuse their children if demanded 
by the fearful medicine man for sacrifice. And numerous 
anecdotes are related of circumstances happening during 
this horrid period, which all tend to illustrate the above 
assertions, but which the writer has not deemed proper to 
introduce, on account of the bloody and unnatural scenes 
which they depict. The Ojibways, at this period, fell 
entirely under the power of their Satanic medicine men, 
and priesthood, who even for some time caused themselves 
to be believed invulnerable to death. This, however, was 



finally tested one night, by a parent whose beloved and 
only child had just fallen a victim to the insatiable longing 
for human flesh, of one of these poisoners. After interring 
his child, he returned at night with his bow and arrow 
and watched near the grave. At midnight he saw what 
appeared to be the form of a black bear, approach and 
commence diviner into the crave. It was also believed 
that these medicine men possessed the power of transform- 
ing themselves into the shapes of animals. 

But the determined father, overcoming his fear, launched 
his barbed arrow into the body of the bear, and without 
waiting to see the consequence of his shot, he fled to his 
wigwam. The next morning, the body of one of the most 
malignant and fearful poisoners was found clothed in a 
bearskin, weltering in his blood, on the grave of the old 
man's child, whom he had made a victim. 
... Whether or not these evil practices were at this par- 
ticular period caused by dire necessity, either through a 
failure of their crops, or by being entirely hemmed in by 
their enemies, as to be prevented from hunting on the main 
shore, the writer is not enabled to state, though he should 
be but too happy to give this as a palliating excuse for the 
horrid custom he is obliged to relate, as once having been 
in such vogue in the tribe of whom he is writing. 

It is further stated that these evil practices were carried 
on to such an extent, that the Che-bi-ug, or " souls of the 
victims," were at last heard nightly traversing the village, 
weeping and wailing. On this the inhabitants became 
panic stricken, and the consequence was that a general 
and complete desertion of the island of their refuge took 
place, which left their town and fields entirely desolate, 
and from that time, they have become overgrown with 
trees and bushes, till scarcely a vestige of their former site 
is to be seen. 



How far the nightly weeping of the dead, which caused 
this sudden fear and panic, was drawn from the imagina- 
tion of the wicked inhabitants, or originated in the nightly 
secret wailings of fond parents for victimized children, we 
are not able to affirm, certain it is however, that from that 
time, the Ojibways considered the island as haunted, and 
never resided on it till after the first old French traders 
had located and built their trading establishment thereon. 

When my maternal grandfather, Michel Cadotte, first 
built his trading post and resided on the island of La 
Pointe, seventy years ago, not an Indian dare stop over 
night on it alone, for fear of the Che-bi-ug, which were even 
then supposed to haunt it. At that time, however, it is 
necessary to state that this fear had been lately increased 
by a bloody tragedy which had occurred among the first 
French traders who located on tbe island, as will be here- 
after narrated. Mons. Cadotte located on the site of the 
ancient Ojibway town, and at this time the ground on 
which had stood their numerous wigwams, and waved 
their fields of corn, was covered with a comparatively 
young growth of trees, and the stumps of the ancient pines 
which they had cut down, were in one spot still plainly 

I have already stated that the old men of the tribe are 
not over communicative respecting the bad practices of 
their ancestors, which we have noted in this chapter, yet 
though backward to mention them, they do not altogether 
deny the truth of these tales, which I have learned from 
the lips of old half-breeds and traders, who received the 
information many years ago, from old men and women 
whose parents had been actors in the bloody scenes and 
feasts of this period. I vividly recollect in my childhood 
while residing on the very spot where these scenes had 
occurred, that my mother often stilled my importunities 



for a story, with tales of this period which would fairly 
make my hair stand on end, and which she had learned 
from an old woman who was then still living, and who was 
considered to be at least one hundred and twenty years of 
age, from the fact of her relating events which had occurred 
a century past, when she was a young woman. 





Preliminary remarks — Visit of Claude Allouez to the Bay of Shag-a-waum-ik- 
ong, as known to the Ojibways— Definition of " Wa-me-tig-oshe," the Ojib- 
way name for Frenchman— Antique silver crucifix found near La Pointe — 
Ancient prophecy foretelling the coming of the white race — The singular 
dream of Ma-se-wa-pe-ga — He goes in search of the white spirits — Finds 
them and returns to his people with presents— He makes a second journey 
and returns with the fire-arms and fire-water — Anecdote of the first trial 
and effect of fire-water— Anecdote of the effect of the fire-arm among the 
Dakotas — Two white traders found starving on the island of La Pointe— 
First white visitors to the Ojibways in the Bay of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong— Two 
hundred years ago — Establishment of traders and priests at the Ojibway vil- 
lage — Remarks, etc. 

The era of their first knowledge of, and intercourse with 
the white race, is one of most vital importance in the his- 
tory of the aborigines of this continent. 

So far as their own tribe is concerned, the Ojibways 
have preserved accurate and detailed accounts of this event ; 
and the information which their old men orally give on 
this subject, is worthy of much consideration, although 
they may slightly differ from the accounts which standard 
historians and writers have presented to the world, and 
which they have gleaned from the writings of the enter- 
prising and fearless old Jesuit missionaries, and from the 
published narratives of the first adventurers who pierced 
into the heart of the American wilderness. This source of 
information may be considered as more reliable and au- 
thentic than the oral traditions of the Indians, but as we 
have undertaken to write their history as they themselves 
tell it, we will do so without respect to what has already 
been written by eminent and standard authors. The 



writer is disposed to consider as true and perfectly re- 
liable, the information which he has obtained and thor- 
oughly investigated, on this subject, and which he will 
proceed in this chapter to relate in the words of his old 
Indian informants. 

A few preliminary remarks are deemed necessary, before 
fully entering into the narrative of the Ojib way's first 
knowledge and intercourse with his white brother. 

Those who have carefully examined the writings of the 
old J esuit missionaries and early adventurers, who claim to 
have been the first discoverers of new regions, and new 
people, in the then dark wilderness of the west, or central 
America, have found many gross mistakes and exa^aora- 
tions, and their works as a whole, are only tolerated and 
their accounts made matters of history, because no other 
source of information has ever been opened to the public 

It is a fact found generally true, that the first adventurer 
who is able to give a flaming account of his travels, is 
handed down to posterity as the first discoverer of the 
country and people which he describes as having visited, 
when mayhap, that same region, and those same people 
had been, long previous, discovered by some obscure and 
more modest man, who, because he could not blazon forth 
his achievements in a book of travels, forever loses the 
credit of what he really has performed. 

Many instances of this nature are being daily brought to 
light, and might be enumerated. Among others, Mr. Catlin 
claims in his book (and is believed by all who do not know 
to the contrary), to have been the first white man who 
visited the Dakota pipestone quarry, when in fact, that 
same quarry had been known to, and visited by white 
traders for nearly a century before Catlin saw it and wrote 
his book. 

In the same manner also, Charles Lanman, of later noto- 
riety, claims to have been the first white man who visited 



the Falls of the St. Louis River, when in fact Aitkin, 
Morrison, Sayer, and a host of others as white as he, had 
visited, and resided for fifty years within sound of those 
same falls. 1 It is thus that a man who travels for the pur- 
pose of writing a book to sell, and who, being a man of 
letters, is able to trumpet forth his own fame, often plucks 
the laurels due to more modest and unlettered adventurers. 

Mr. Bancroft in his standard " History of the United 
States," mentions that in the year 1665, the enterprising 
and persevering Jesuit missionary, Claude Allouez, with 
one companion, pushed his way into Lake Superior and 
discovered the Ojibways congregated in a large village in 
the Bay of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, and preparing to go on a 
war party against the Dakotas ; that he resided two years 
among them, and taught a choir of their youths to chant 
the Pater and Ave. 

This is the first visit made by white men to this point 
on. Lake Superior, of which we have any reliable written 
testimony. The account as given in Bancroft's u History" 
is not altogether corroborated by the Ojibways. It is only 
through minute and repeated inquiry, that I have learned 
the fact from their own lips, of this early visit of a " black 
gowned priest," but not of his having resided with them 
for any length of time. And they assert positively that it 
was many years after the first visit of the white men to 
their village in the Bay of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, that the 
" priest" made his appearance among them. And I am 
disposed to doubt that as long a stay as two years was 
made by Father Allouez among their people, or that any of 
them learned to chant canticles, for the reason that the Ojib- 
ways, who are so minute in the relation of the particulars 
of any important event in their history, comprised within 
the past eight generations, do not make any mention of 

1 The allusion is to Lanman's Summer in the Wilderness, published in New 
York, 1847.— E. D. N. 



these facts. It is probable that the two years stay of this 
Jesuit in the Bay of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, amounted to an 
occasional visit from Sault Ste. Marie, or Quebec, which 
place had already at this period, become the starting and 
rallying point of Western French adventurers. 1 

In those days there appears to have been a spirit of com- 
petition and rivalry among the different sects of the Cath- 
olic priesthood, as to who would pierce farthest into the 
western wilderness of America to plant the cross. 

Imagination in some instances, outstripped their actual 
progress, and missionary stations are located on Hennepin's 
old map, in spots where a white man had never set foot. 
That the Catholic priests appeared amongst their earliest 
white visitors, the Ojibways readily acknowledge. And 
the name by which they have ever known the French 
people is a sufficient testimony to this fact, Wa-me-tig- 
oshe. For many years this name could not be translated 
by the imperfect interpreters employed by the agents of 
the French and English, and its literal definition was not 
given till during the last war, at a council of different 
tribes, convened by the British at Drummond's Isle. The 
several Ojibway interpreters present were asked to give its 
definition. All tailed, till John Baptiste Caclotte, ac- 
knowledged to be the most perfect interpreter of the Algics 

1 Mr. Bancroft erroneously wrote in the 14th edition of the History of the 
United States, that Allouez " on the first day of October arrived at the great vil- 
lage of the Chippewas in the Bay of Chagouamigon/' but Mr. Warren is also 
wrong in his supposition. 

Allouez upon invitation of traders, came with them to Chagouamigon Bay in 
October, 1665. At that time there was no permanent Ojibway village beyond 
Sault Ste. Marie. He built a bark chapel on the shores of the Bay between a 
village of Petun Hurons, and a village comprised of three bands of Ottawas. 
On the 30th of August, 1667. he returned to Montreal, and in two days departed 
again for Lake Superior, where he remained until 1669, when a mission was 
established among the Ojibways at Sault Ste. Marie. In 1669 Marquette suc- 
ceeded Allouez, in the words of the Relation of 1669-70, " at Chagouamigong 
where the Outaouacsand Hurons dwell." He remained with them until they 
were driven out of Lake Superior in 1671 by the Sioux. — E. D. N. 



in his time, arose and gave it as follows : " AVa-mit-ig-oshe 
is derived from wa-wa, to wave, and metig, wood or stick, 
and means literally, people or ' men of the waving stick,' 
derived from the fact that when the French first appeared 
among the Algonqnins who have given them this name, 
they came accompanied with priests who waved the Cross 
over their heads whenever they landed at an Indian vil- 

The circumstance also is worthy of mention, that a few 
years ago, an old Indian woman dug up an antique silver 
crucifix on her garden at Bad River near La Pointe, after 
it had been deeply ploughed. This discovery was made 
under my own observation, and I recollect at the time it 
created quite a little excitement amongst the good Cathol- 
ics of La Pointe, who insisted that the Great Spirit had 
given this as a token for the old woman to join the church. 
The crucifix was found about two feet from the surface of 
the ground, composed of pure silver, about three inches 
long and size in proportion. It has since been buried at 
Gull Lake, in the grave of a favorite grandchild of the 
old Indian woman, to whom she had given it as a play- 
thing. 1 

The Ojibways affirm that long before they became aware 
of the white man's presence on this continent, their coming 
was prophesied by one of their old men, whose great 
sanctity and oft-repeated fasts, enabled him to commune 
with spirits and see far into the future. He prophesied 
that the white spirits would come in numbers like sand 
on the lake shore, and would sweep the red race from the 
hunting grounds which the Great Spirit had given them as 
an inheritance. It was prophesied that the consequence of 
the white man's appearance would be, to the An-ish-in-aub- 
ag, an " ending of the world." They acknowledge that at 

1 Another article in this volume shows that silver crosses were sold by- 
French and English traders. — E. D. N. 



first their ancestors believed not the words of the old 
prophet foretelling these events ; but now as the present 
generation daily see the foretold events coming to pass in 
all their details, the more reflective class firmly believe 
that they are truly a " doomed race." It was through 
harping on this prophecy, by which Te-cum-seh and his 
brother, the celebrated Show-a-no prophet, succeeded so 
well in forming a coalition among the Algic and other 
tribes, the main and secret object of which, was the final 
extermination of the white race from America. 

The account which the Ojibwaya give of their first 
knowledge of the whites, is as follows : — 

"While still living in their large and central town on the 
Island of La Pointe, a principal and leading Me-da-we 
priest, whose name wa3 Ma-se-wa-pe-ga (whole ribs), 
dreamed a dream wherein he beheld spirits in the form of 
men, but possessing white skins and having their heads 
covered. They approached him with hands extended and 
with smiles on their faces. This singular dream he related 
to the principal men of the Ojibways on the occasion of a 
grand sacrificial feast to his guardian dream-spirit. He 
informed them that the white spirits who had thus ap- 
peared to him, resided toward the rising sun, and that he 
would go and search for them. His people tried to dissuade 
him from undertaking what they termed a foolish journey, 
but firm in his belief, and strong in his determination, he 
was occupied a whole year in making preparations for his in- 
tended journey. He built a strong canoe of birch bark and 
cedar wood ; he hunted and cured plenty of meat for his 
provisions ; and early in the spring when the ice had left 
the Great Lakes, and he had completed his preparations, 
Ma-se-wa-pe-ga, with only his wife for a companion, started 
on his travels in quest of the white spirits whom he had 
seen in his dream. 

He paddled eastward down the Great Lakes in the route 



of the former migration of his tribe, till he entered into a 
large river which flowed in the direction of the rising sun. 
Undiscovered he passed through the hostile tribes of the 
Xaud-o-ways. At last when the river on which he floated, 
had become wide and like a lake, he discovered on the 
banks, a hut, made of logs, and he noticed the stumps of 
large trees which had been cut by sharper instruments 
than the rude stone axes used by the Indians. 

The signs were apparently two winters old, but satisfied 
that it was the work of the spirits, for whom he was in 
search, Ma-se-wa-pe-ga proceeded on his journey, and he 
soon came to another hut and clearing, which though de- 
serted, had been built and occupied during the previous 
winter. Much encouraged, he paddled on down stream 
till he discovered another hut from the top of which arose 
a smoke. It was occupied by the "white spirits,'' who, on 
his landing, cordially welcomed him with a shake of the 

"When about to depart to return home, presents of a steel 
axe, knife, beads, and a small strip of scarlet cloth were 
given him, which, carefully depositing in his medicine 
bag, as sacred articles, he brought safely home to his people 
at La Po'inte. Ma-se-wa-pe-ga again collected the prin- 
cipal men of his tribe in council, and displaying his curious 
presents, he gave a full narrative of his successful journey 
and the fulfilment of his dream. The following spring a 
large number of his people followed him on his second 
visit to the supposed 44 white spirits.'' They carried with 
them many skins of the beaver, and they returned home 
late in the fall with the dread fire-arm, which was to give 
them power over their much feared enemies. It is on 
this occasion also, that they first procured the fire-water 
which was to prove the most dreadful scourge and curse 
of their race. 

It is related that on the arrival of this party at La Pointe, 



with the fire-water, none dare drink it, thinking it a poison 
which would immediately cause death. They, however, 
to test its virtues, made an experimental trial on a very 
aged woman who — as they reasoned — had hut a short time 
to live at all events, and whose death would he a matter of 
no account. The old woman drank it, appeared perfectly 
happy and in ecstasies, got over the effects of it, and begged 
for more. On which the men took courage, and drank up 
the remainder themselves. From that time, fire-water 
became the mammon of the Ojibways, and a journey of 
hundreds of miles to procure a taste of it, was considered 
but as boy's play. 

They tell, also, the effect of the first gun, which they pro- 
cured from the whites and introduced among the more 
remote and ignorant Dakotas, with whom at this time they 
happened to he on terms of peace. A peace party of the 
Ojibways visited a village of these people on the St. CroLx 
river, and took with them as a curiosity, the dreadful 
weapon they had procured. While enjoying their peace- 
ful games, the young men of the Ojibways informed the 
Dakotas of the fearful and deadly effects of the gun ; but 
they, thinking that the Ojibways wished to intimidate them 
with an imaginary fear, reviled and laughed at the instru- 
ment, and in their disbelief they even offered to bet against 
its deadly effects. The dispute becoming high, the bet 
was taken, and a Dakota brave in utter derision, insisted 
on offering the back part of his body as a prominent mark. 
He was shot dead on the spot. With difficulty the peace- 
party succeeded in returning safely home, for the wrath of 
the Dakotas was aroused at the death of their warrior, and 
the old feud was again renewed, though from this time 
they evinced a mortal fear of the gun, which their remote- 
ness from the white strangers precluded them from obtain- 
ing, till many years after the Ojibways bad been fully sup- 



About this time, the old men of the tribe date the sud- 
den evacuation ot their town on the island of La Pointe, 
and the planting of their lodges in the adjoining Bay of 
Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, which occurrence I have fully men- 
tioned in the preceding chapter. The first white men 
whom they tell of having visited them, came after this 
dispersion, and while they were congregated on the shores 
of the Bay. 

One clear morning in the early part of winter, soon 
after the islands which are clustered in this portion of 
Lake Superior and known as the Apostles, had been locked 
in ice, a party of young men of the Ojibways started out 
from their village in the Bay of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, to 
go, as was customary, and spear fish through holes in the 
ice, between the island of La Pointe and the main shore, 
this being considered as the best ground for this mode of 
fishing. While engaged in their sport, they discovered a 
smoke arising from a point of the adjacent island, toward 
its eastern extremity. 

The island of La Pointe was then totally unfrequented, 
from superstitious fears which had but a short time pre- 
vious led to its total evacuation by the tribe, and it was 
considered an act of the greatest hardihood for any one to 
set foot on its shores. The young men returned home at 
evening and reported the smoke which they had seen 
arising from the island, and various were the conjectures 
of the old people respecting the persons who would dare 
to build a fire on the spirit-haunted isle. They must be 
strangers, and the young men were directed, should they 
again see the smoke, to go and find out who made it. 

Early the next morning, again proceeding to their fish- 
ing ground, the young men once more noticed the smoke 
arising from the eastern end of the unfrequented island, 
and led on by curiosity, they ran thither and found a small 
log cabin in which they discovered two white men in the 



last stages of starvation. The young Ojibways filled with 
compassion, carefully conveyed them to their village, 
where, being nourished with great kindness, their lives 
were preserved. 

These two white men had started from Quebec during 
the summer with a supply of goods, to go and find the 
Ojibways who every year had brought rich packs of 
beaver to the sea-coast, notwithstanding that their road 
was barred by numerous parties of the watchful and jeal- 
ous Iroquois. Coasting slowly up the southern shores of 
the Great Lake late in the fall, they had been driven by 
the ice on to the unfrequented island, and not discovering 
the vicinity of the Indian village, they had been for some 
time enduring the pangs of hunger. At the tkne they 
were found by the young Indians, they had been reduced 
to the extremity of roasting and eating their woollen cloth 
and blankets as the last means of sustaining life. 

Having come provided with goods they remained in the 
village during the winter, exchanging their commodities 
for beaver skins. The ensuing spring a large number of 
the Ojibways accompanied them on their return home. 

From close inquiry, and judging from events which are 
said to have occurred about this period of time, I am dis- 
posed to believe that this first visit by the whites took 
place about two hundred years ago. It is, at any rate, 
certain that it happened a few years prior to the visit of 
the " Black gowns" mentioned in Bancroft's History, and 
it is one hundred and eighty-four years since this well- 
authenticated occurrence. 

If thorough inquiry were to be made, it would be found 
that the idea which is now generally believed, that the 
pious missionaries of those olden times, were the first pio- 
neers into the Indian country about the great chain of 
Lakes, and Upper Mississippi, and were only followed 
closely by the traders, is a mistaken one. The adventur- 


ous, but obscure and unlettered trader, was the first pio- 
neer. He cared only for beaver skins, and his ambition 
not leading him to secure the name of a first discoverer by 
publishing his travels, this honor naturally fell to 
who were as much actuated by a thirst for fame, as by re- 
ligious zeal. 

The glowing accounts given by these traders on their 
return with their peltries to Quebec, their tales of large 
villages of peaceable and docile tribes, caused the eager 
Jesuit and Franciscan to accompany him back to the scene 
of his glowing accounts, and to plant the cross amongst the 
ignorant and simple children of the forest. 

In making these remarks, we do not wish to deteriorate 
from the great praise which is nevertheless due to these 
pious and persevering fathers, who so early attempted to 
save the souls of the benighted Indians. 

In the separation of the Ojibway tribe into two divisions, 
upwards of three centuries ago at the outlet of Lake 
Superior, which has been fully treated of in a previous 
chapter, a considerable band remained on their ancient 
village site at Bow-e-ting or Falls of St. Marie ; and here, 
some years prior to the first visit of the white men and 
" Black Gowns" to the greater village in the Bay of 
Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, traders and priests had established 
themselves, and this circumstance naturally conduced to 
draw thither from their more western and dangerously sit- 
uated villages, many families of this tribe, till they again 
numbered many wigwams, on this, the site of their ancient 
town. It was the first discovery of this tribe, at this 
point, which has given them the name, by the French, of 
Saulteaux, from the circumstance of their residing at the 

This band have ever since this period, remained detached 
by the intervening southern shores of Lake Superior, from 
the main body of the tribe who have radiated northward, 



westward and southward, from their central town of La 

Aided by the French, Ottawas, Potawatnmies, and Wy- 
andots, they succeeded in checking the harassing incur- 
sions of the war-like Iroquois, and as they became equally 
possessed of the fire-arm, instead of being pressed west- 
ward, as they had been for centuries before, they retraced 
the eastern track of their ancestors' former emigration, and 
rejoined the remnants of their race who had been for 
many years cut off from them by the intervening Iroquois, 
and who had first greeted the French strangers who 
landed in the river St. Lawrence, and who termed them 

From this period, the communication between the 
eastern section or rear of the Algic tribes, occupying the 
lower waters of the River St. Lawrence, and the great 
western van who occupied the area of Lake Superior, 
became comparatively free and open, for villages of the 
Algic tribes lined the shores of the great chain of Lakes 
and also the banks of the great river which forms the out- 
let into the " salt water/' 

In one of their traditions it is stated that " when the 
white man first came in sio*ht of the 'Great Turtle' island 
of Mackinaw, they beheld walking on the pebbly shores, 
a crane and a bear who received them kindly, invited them 
to their wigwams, and placed food before them." This 
allegory denotes that Ojibways of the Crane and Bear 
Totem families first received the white strangers, and 
extended to them the hand of friendship and rites of hos- 
pitality, and in remembrance of this occurrence they are 
said to have been the favorite clans with the old French 





The Ojibways discard their primitive utensils and weapons — They learn the 
value of the furred animals — Yearly visits to Quebec for purposes of trade — 
They radiate in bands from the bay of Shag-a-wauin-ik-ong — The fur trade 
the main cause of their future movements and conquests — Mode of carrying 
on their wars — Tradition of Bi-aus-wah — He dies for his son — A war party 
raised to revenge his death — Six Fox villages destroyed — Foxes retire to 
Wisconsin — Wa-we-gis-ug-o locates a village at Fond du Lac— Nature of 
their intercourse with the whites at this period — Great convocation of tribes 
at Sault Ste. Marie 1071— Object of the French in this movement — Words 
addressed to the Ojibway chief by the French envoy — Ojibways learn to love 
the French — Causes thereof — Remarks on the nature of their treatment and 
intercourse, as compared with that of the British and United States Govern- 

We have now come to that period in their history, when 
the important consequences of their discovery and inter- 
course with the white race began to work their effects 
upon the former even, monotonous, and simple course of 
life, which the Ojibways had pursued for so many genera- 
tions. Their clay kettles, pots, and dishes were exchanged 
for copper and brass utensils; their comparatively harmless 
bow and arrow, knives and spears of bones, were thrown 
aside, and in their place they procured the fire-arm, steel 
knife, and tomahawk of the whites. They early became 
aware of the value of furs to the white strangers, and that 
the skins of animals, which they before used only for gar- 
ments, now procured them the coveted commodities of the 
pale-faced traders, and the consequence was, that an indis- 
criminate slaughter, from this period commenced, of the 
beaver and other fur animals, which had grown numerous 
because molested only on occasions when their warm fur 



had been needed to cover the nakedness of the wild Indian, 
or their meat required to satisfy his hunger. 

In the early part of the seventeenth century the Ojibways 
had already commenced the custom of yearly visiting 
Quebec, and afterwards Montreal, taking with them packs 
of beaver skins, and returning with the fire-arms, blankets, 
trinkets, and firewater of the whites. This custom they 
kept up for many years, gradually curtailing the length of 
their journeys as the whites advanced toward them step 
by step, locating their trading posts, first at Detroit, then 
at Mackinaw, then at Sault Ste. Marie, till at last the 
smoke of their cabins arose from the island of La Pointe 
itself, when these periodical journeys came comparatively 
to an end. 

It was many years before the first French traders located 
a permanent trading post among the Ojibways of Shag-a- 
waum-ik-ong, and in the mean time, as this tribe became 
supplied with fire-arms, and killed off the beaver in the 
vicinity of their ancient seat, they radiated in bands inland, 
westward and southward towards the beautiful lakes and 
streams which form the tributaries of the Wisconsin, Chip- 
peway, and St. Croix rivers, and along the south coast of 
the Great Lake to its utmost extremity, and from thence 
even inland unto the headwaters of the Mississippi. All 
this was the country of the Dakotas and Foxes, and brave- 
ly did they battle to beat back the encroaching Ojibways 
from their best hunting grounds, but in vain ; for the in- 
vaders, besides having increased in numbers, had become 
possessed of fearful weapons, against which they feared to 
battle with their primitive bow and arrow. 

For a number of years the Ojibways continued to con- 
sider the bay of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong as their common home, 
and their hunting parties returned thither at different sea- 
sons of the year. Here also, and only here, were their 
grand medicine rites performed, and their war-parties col- 



lected to march against, and drive further back, their nume- 
rous foes. The fur trade has been the mainspring and 
cause which has led the Ojibways westward and more west- 
ward, till they have become possessed through conquest, 
and a persevering, never-relaxing pressure on their enemies, 
of the vast tracts of country over which they are scattered 
at the present day. Their present proud position in this 
respect they have not gained without an equivalent price 
in blood and life, and the Ojibway exclaims with truth 
when asked by the grasping " Long Knife" to sell his coun- 
try, that " it is strewed with the bones of his fathers, and 
enriched with their blood." 

Their wars at this period were generally carried on by 
small and desultory parties, and it was only on occasions 
when smarting under some severe blow or loss, inflicted by 
their enemies, that the warriors of the tribe would collect 
under some noted leader, and marching into the Dakota or 
Fox country, make a bold and effective strike, which 
would long be remembered, and keep their enemies in fear 
and check. 

A circumstance happened, about this time, which, in the 
regular course of our narrative, we will here relate. A few 
lodges of Ojibway hunters under the guidance of Bi-aus- 
wah, a leading man of the tribe, claiming the Loon Totem, 
was one spring encamped at Kah-puk-wi-e-kah, a bay on 
the lake shore situated forty miles west of La Pointe. 

Early one morning the camp was attacked by a large 
war-party of Foxes, and the men, women and children all 
murdered, w T ith the exception of a lad and an old man, who, 
running into a swamp, and becoming fastened in the bog 
and mire, were captured and taken in triumph by the 
Foxes to their village, there to suffer death with all the 
barbarous tortures which a savage could invent. 

Bi-aus-wah, at the time of the attack, was away on a 
hunt, and he did not return till towards evening. His 



feelings on finding his wigwams in ashes, and the lifeless, 
scalpless remains of his beloved family and relatives 
strewed about on the blood-stained ground, can only be 
imagined. He had lost all that bound him to life, and per- 
fectly reckless he followed the return trail of the Foxes 
determined to die, if necessary, in revenging the grievous 
wrong which they had inflicted on him. He arrived at the 
village of his enemies, a day after their successful war-party 
had returned, and he heard men, women, and children 
screaming and yelling with delight, as they danced around 
the scalps which their warriors had taken. 

Secreting himself on the outskirts of the village, the Ojib- 
way chieftain waited for an opportunity to imbrue his 
hands in the blood of an enemy who might come within 
reach of his tomahawk. He had not remained long in his 
ambush, when the Foxes collected a short distance from 
the village, for the purpose of torturing and burning their 
two captives. The old man was first produced, and his 
body being wrapped in folds of the combustible birch bark, 
the Foxes set lire to it and caused him to run the gaunt- 
let amid their hellish whoops and screams ; covered with 
a perfect blaze of fire, and receiving withal a shower of 
blows, the old man soon expired. 

The young and tender lad was then brought forward, 
and his doom was to run backwards and forwards on a long 
pile of burning fagots, till consumed to death. Xone but 
a parent can fully imagine the feelings which wrung the 
heart of the ambushed Ojibway chieftain, as he now recog- 
nized his only surviving child in the young captive who was 
about to undergo these torments. His single arm could 
not rescue him, but the brave father determined to die for 
or with his only son, and as the cruel Foxes were on the 
point of setting fire to the heap of dry fagots on which 
the lad had been placed, they were surprised to see the 


Ojibway chief step proudly and boldly into their midst ami 
address them as follows : — 

"My little son, whom you are about to burn with fire, 
has seen but a few winters; his tender feet have never 
trodden the war path — he lias never injured you! But 
the hairs of my head are white with many winters, and 
over the graves of my relatives I have hung many seal] - 
which I have taken from the heads of the Foxes ; my 
death is worth something to you, let me therefore take 
the place of my child that he may return to his people.'"' 

Taken totally by surprise, the Foxes silently listened to 
the chief's proposal, and ever having coveted his death, and 
now fearing the consequence of his despairing efforts, tiny- 
accepted his offer, and releasing the son, they bade him to 
depart, and burnt the brave father in his stead. The 
young man returned safely to his people at La Pointe. and 
the tale of his murdered kindred, and father's death, spread 
like wild fire among the wide scattered bands of the Ojih- 

A war party was gathered and warriors came, even from 
distant Ste. Marie and Grand Portage, to join in revenging 
the death of their chief. 

They marched toward the headwaters of the St. Croix 
and Chippeway rivers, and returned not home till they 
had attacked and destroyed six villages of the Foxes, some 
of which were composed of earthen wigwams, which now 
form the mounds which are spread so profusely over this 
section of country. They reaped a rich harvest of scalp*, 
and made such an effective strike, that from this time the 
Foxes evacuated the rice lakes and midland country about 
the St. Croix and Chippeway rivers, and retired south to 
the "Wisconsin. 

Soon after the above occurrence, the Ojibways pres-od 
up the lake shore, and \Va-me-gis-ug-o, a daring and U ur- 



less hunter, obtained a firm footing and pitched his wigwam 
permanently at Fond du Lae, or Wi-a-quah-ke-che-gume- 
eng. He belonged to the Marten Totem family, and the 
present respected chiefs of that now important village, 
Shin-goob and JSug-aun-ub, are his direct descendants. 
Many families of his people followed the example of this 
pioneer, and erecting their wigwams on the islands of the 
St. Louis River, near its outlet into the lake, for greater 
security, they manfully held out against the numerous at- 
tacks of the fierce Dakotas, whose villages were but two 
days' march toward the south on the St. Croix River, and 
the west, at Sandy Lake. During this time, comprised 
between the years 1612 (at which I date their first knowl- 
edge of the white race), and 10 71, when the French made 
their first national treaty or convocation at Sault Ste. 
Marie with the northwestern tribes, no permanent trading 
post had as yet been erected on the shores of Lake Superior; 
the nearest post was the one located at Sault Ste. Marie, 
which as early as the middle of the seventeenth century, 
had already become an important depot and outlet to the 
Lake Superior fur trade. Their intercourse with the 
whites consisted in yearly visits to their nearest western 
posts. The trade was partially also carried on through the 
medium of the intervening kindred tribe of Ottaways, or by 
adventurous traders who came amongst them with canoes 
loaded with goods, made a transient stay, sometimes even 
passing a winter amongst them, following their hunting 
camps, but returning in the spring of the year to Quebec 
with the proceeds of their traffic. Xo incident which the 
old men related as connected with the whites, is worthy of 
mention, till a messenger of the " Great French King'' 
visited their village at Shag-a-waum-ik-ong, and invited 
them to a grand council of different tribes to be held at 
Sault Ste. Marie. Some of the words of this messenger 
are still recollected and minutely related by the Ojibways. 


Early the following spring, a large delegation proceeded 
to Ste. Marie to attend the council, and hear the words of 
the u Great King of the French." Ke-che-ne-zuh-yauh, 
head chief of the great Crane family, headed this party, 
and represented the nation of the Ojibways. It is his de- 
scendants in the fourth generation, from whom I have ob- 
tained the few detached items which are here given 
respecting this important event. 

Michel Cadotte (son of the Mons. M. Cadotte whom 
we have already had occasion to mention), who is now the 
oldest man of mixed Ojibway and French blood in the 
northwest, states that his great-grandfather, a Mons. 
Cadeau, on this occasion first came into the Ojibway 
country in the train of the French envoy Sieur du Lusson. 
The name has since been spelled Cadotte, and the wide 
spread family of this name claims their connection with 
the Ojibway tribe from this period. From this old hall- 
breed, still living at La Pointe, I have obtained much 
reliable information, corroborating with that obtained from 
the Indians themselves. 

The envoy of the French king asked, in the name of his 
nation, for permission to trade in the country, and for free 
passage to and from their villages all times thereafter. 
He asked that the fires of the French and Ojibway nations 
might be made one, and everlasting. 1 

He promised the protection of the great French nation 
against all their enemies, and addressing himself to the 
Chippeway chieftain from La Pointe, he said : — 

" Everv morning you will look towards the risino; of the 
sun and you shall see the fire of your French father reflect- 
ing towards you, to warm you and your people. If you 
are in trouble, you, the Crane, must arise in the skies and 
cry with your 4 far sounding' voice, and I will hear you. 

1 For a notice of Jean Baptiste Cadotte, married in 175G, see an article in tWs 


The fire of your French father shall last forever, and warm 
his children." At the end of this address a gold medal 
shaped like a heart was placed on the hreast of Ke-che-ne- 
zuh-yauh, and by this mark of honor he was recognized as 
the chief of the Lake Superior Ojibways. 1 These words 
have been handed down from generation to generation, to 
his present descendants, and it will he readily seen by them 
that the French had already learned to use the figurative 
and forcible style of expression of the Ojibways, and under- 
stood their division into Totemic clans, with the peculiari- 
ties on which each clan prided themselves. 

The Ojibways received the "heart" of their French breth- 
ren, and accepted their proposals of peace, amity, and mu- 
tual support and protection. From this period their coun- 
try became more free and open to French enterprise, and 
they learned to term the French king " father." 

The Ojibways learned to love the French people, for the 
Frenchmen, possessing a character of great plasticity, easily 
assimilated themselves to the customs and mode of life of 
their red brethren. They respected their religious rites 
and ceremonies, and they " never laughed" at their super- 
stitious beliefs and ignorance. They fully appreciated, and 
honored accordingly, the many noble traits and qualities 
possessed by these bold and wild hunters of the forest. It 
is an acknowledged fact, that no nation of whites have ever 
succeeded so well in gaining the love and confidence of the 
red men, as the Franks. It is probable that their character 
in many respects was more similar, and adapted to the cha- 
racter of the Indian, than any other European nation. The 
" voyageur du Xord," as were then termed the common class 

1 Note by Mr. Warren. — On the death of this chieftain, this gold medal was 
buried with him, through a superstitious notion that he should appear in the 
land of spirits with the same honors which had attended him on earth. His 
grave was located on the shores of Shag-a-waum-ik-ong Bay. In 1S50 it was 
carefully searched for by some of his descendants to recover the medal, but 
the grave was found to have been swept away by high water. 


of the French who visited them for the purposes of trade, 
were nearly as illiterate, ignorant, and superstitious as them- 
selves, and many of them were far beneath the red man in 
strength of character and morality. 

Their aim was not so much that of gain as of pleasure, 
and the enjoyment of present life, and mainly in this 
respect will be found the difference between the nature of 
their intercourse with the natives of America, and that 
which has since been carried on by the English and Ameri- 
cans, who, as a general truth, have made Mammon their 
God, and have looked on the Indian but. as a tool or means 
of obtaining riches, and other equally mercenary ends. 

In their lack of care for the morrow, which in a meas- 
ure characterized the French " voyageur," and in their con- 
tinual effervescence of animal spirits, open-heartedness, and 
joviality, they agreed fully with the like characteristics 
possessed by the Ojibways. Some of my readers may be 
surprised at my thus placing the Indian on a par with the 
laughter-loving Frenchman, for the reason that he has ever 
been represented as a morose, silent, and uncommunicative 
being. It is only necessary to state that this is a gross 
mistake, and but a character (far different from his real 
one), assumed by the Indian in the presence of strangers, 
and especially white strangers in whom he has no confi- 
dence. Another bond which soon more firmly attached 
them one to another with strong ties of friendship, was 
created by the Frenchmen taking the women of the Ojib- 
ways as wives, and rearing large families who remained in 
the country, and to this day, the mixture and bonds of 
blood between these two people has been perpetuated, and 
remains unbroken. 

The days of the French domination was the Augustan 
era of the fur trade, and beavers were so plenty and the 
profits arising from the trade were so large, that the French 
traders readily afforded to give large presents of their cov- 



eted commodities, their beloved tobacco and fire-water to 
the Indians who visited them at their posts, or on occasions 
when they visited them at their own villages. In those 
days along the lake shore villages of the Ojibways, from 
Mackinaw to Fond du Lac oi Lake Superior, there was no 
music so- sweet to the ears of the inhabitants, as the enliven- 
ing boat song of the merry French " voyageurs," as they 
came from the direction of Quebec and Montreal each 
spring of the year — rapidly looming up trom the bosom of 
the calm lake, laden with the articles so dearly valued 
among the wild hunters. They recognized in these yearly 
visits the " rays of the fire of their great French tather," 
which he bade them to u look for each morning (spring) 
towards the rising of the sum." 

No strangers were more welcome to the Ojibways, and 
warm were the shaking of hands and embraces on these 
occasions between the dusky son of the forest, and the po- 
lite and warm-hearted Frank. The dark-eyed damsels, 
though they stood bashfully in the rear of those who 
thronged the beach to welcome the new-comers, yet with 
their faces partly hidden they darted glances of welcome, 
and waited in the wigwams impatiently for their white 
sweethearts to come in the darkness and silence of night, 
to present the trinkets which they had brought all the way 
from Quebec, to adorn their persons and please their fancy. 

After the Ojibways became possessed with fire-arms and 
ammunition, the arrival of a French 44 Bourgeois" with the 
flag of France flying at the stern of his canoe, was saluted 
with a volley of musketry, and in turn, when any chief 
approached the " posts" or " forts" accompanied with the 
same ensign, discharges of cannons were fired in his honor 
by the French. Thus, interchanges of good-will and polite 
attention were continually kept up between them. 

The French early gained the utmost confidence of the 
Ojibways, and thereby they became more thoroughly ac- 



quainted with their true and real character, even during 
the comparative short season in which they mingled with 
them as a nation, than the British and Americans are at 
this present day, after over a century of intercourse. The 
French understood their division into clans, and treated 
each clan according to the order of its ascendencv in the 
tribe. They conformed also to their system of govern- 
mental polity, of which the totemic division formed the 
principal ingredient. They were circumspect and careful 
in bestowing medals, flags, and other marks of honor, and 
appointing chiefs, and these acts were never done unless 
being first certain of the approbation of the tribe, and 'it 
being in accordance with their civil polity. In this im- 
portant respect the British, and American government 
especially, have lacked most wofully. The agents and com- 
missioners, and even traders of these two nations, have 
appointed chiefs indiscriminately or only in conformity 
with selfish motives and ends, and there is nothing which 
has conduced so much to disorganize, confuse, and break up 
the former simple but well-defined civil polity of these 
people ; and were the matter to be fully investigated, it 
would be found that this almost utter disorganization has 
been one of the chief stumbling-blocks which has ever been 
in the way of doing good to the Indian race. This short- 
sighted system has created nothing but jealousies and 
heart-burnings among the Ojibways. It has broken the 
former commanding influence of their hereditary chiefs, 
and the consequence is, that the tribe is without a head or 
government, and it has become infinitely difficult to treat 
with them as a people. Xo good has resulted from this 
bad and thoughtless policy even to the governments who 
have allowed it to be pursued by its agents. On the con- 
trary, they are punished daily by the evil consequences aris- 
ing from it, for in this is to be found the true and first 
cause of the complaints which are continually at this day 


being poured into the ears of the " Great Father" at Wash- 
ington, and it is through this that mis understandings and 
non-conformity have arisen to treaties which have been 
made by the United States, not only with the Ojibways, but 
other tribes, and which are of the same nature that event- 
ually led to the Creek, Seminole and Black Hawk wars. 




A post is built at Grand Portage by a company of French traders — Their in- 
ducements for its location — The French first open a communication with the 
tribes of the Ke-nis-te-no and Assine-boins — First communication of 'the 
northern division of the Ojibways with these allied tribes — They join the 
alliance — Tradition of the "manner in which the Assine-boins became 
detached from their kindred Dakotas — They become close allies of the Ke- 
nis-te-no and Ojibways — A trading post is located at La Pointe — French work 
the copper mines on Lake Superior — Bloody tragedy enacted at this post in 
1722 — Which results in its evacuation. 

A few years after the great convocation of northwestern 
tribes, and treaty with the French nation at Sault Ste. 
Marie, a company of French traders proceeded up the west 
coast of Lake Superior, and built a trading post or " fort" 
(as these establishments were termed in those days), on a 
beautiful bay situated on the lake shore a few miles above 
Kah-man-a-tig-wa-yah (or Pigeon River), and known as the 
" Grand Portage"' or Ke-che-o-ne-gum-eng, from the fact 
that a portage of ten miles is here made to Pigeon River, 
to avoid the rapids which preclude navigation even for 
canoes, for many miles above the entry of this " bad wind- 
ing stream." 

This is probably the first permanent post erected by the 
white man in the region of country comprised within the 
present limits of Minnesota Territory. It was built, as 
near as I can judge from the information of the Indians 
and old traders, upwards of one hundred and fifty years ago. 

The great quantity of beaver, existing at this period on 
all the streams emptying into Lake Superior, and especially 
throughout the country watered by Kah-man-a-tig-wa-yah 


and its tributaries, together with the great docility, harm- 
less character and friendly disposition of the section of the 
Ojibways occupying this district, who comprise the north- 
ern division of the tribe, were without doubt, the leading 
causes which induced the French here to build their first 
" fort" in preference to any other spot on Lake Superior. 

From this point, also, a vast region of unexplored coun- 
try became open to their indefatigable enterprise, in a 
northern direction. It is by this route that they first be- 
came acquainted with the remote northern tribes, of the 
Ke-nis-te-no and Assineboins, with whom they soon opened 
a communication. 

Long before this, the Ojibways of the northern division 
had already reached in their northward progress, the coun- 
try of the Ke-nis-te-no and Assineboins, the former of 
whom belonged to the same stock as themselves, and 
though the latter were of Dakota extraction, yet finding 
the two tribes in close alliance and carrying on a war 
against the Dakotas, they entered their wigwams in peace, 
and joined in alliance with them. 

I recollect of having read in some book that the Assine- 
boins had been forced into an alliance by the Ke-nis-te-no 
who first received fire-arms from the British by the route 
of Hudson's Bay. This led me to make close inquiries on 
this subject, and I find that Indian tradition says differ- 
ently. Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, the present aged and respected 
chief of the Pillager Ojibways, lived many years in his 
youth among these tribes ; and he gives the following ac- 
count of the manner in which this singular alliance be- 
tween an Algic with a Dakota tribe, first happened. 

" Many winters before they became aware of the presence 
of the white man on this great island, the Yankton divi- 
sion of the great Dakota tribe, resided on the borders of 
the great western prairies near the Red River of the Xorth. 
They numbered many hundred lodges, and their warriors 



prevailed against the Ke-nis-te-no toward the north and 
west, and caused them to keep under the shade of the for- 
ests and swamps which covered their hunting grounds. 
At one time it happened, as it often does, that two young 
men quarrelled about a' woman, and one in the heat of 
passion and jealousy, took the life of the other. Both be- 
longed to numerous and important families, and in accord- 
ance with the law of ' blood for blood,' notwithstanding 
his relatives wished to buy him off, the murderer was 

" Generally a case of this kind ends after the death of the 
first murderer, but in this instance, the drawer of his fellow's 
blood was a great warrior, and his loss being severely felt 
by his relatives, the person who had taken his life was in 
turn murdered. The matter had gone beyond the usual 
length, and notwithstanding the interference of the old 
men and chiefs, the person who drew the last blood suffered 
death for his act, at the hands of a relative to the person 
whom he had killed. The great Yankton camp became a 
scene of excitement, and murders occurred daily, till the 
weaker party consisting of a thousand lodges, left the main 
camp and retired by themselves, to pursue their hunt for 
meat to feed their women and children. 

" The feud did not end here, but continued with greater 
fury; the larger camp even sending war parties to attack 
the straggling hunters of their former brethren. Scalps 
were also taken, and this is equal in Indian custom to a 
declaration of open and exterminating war. The smaller 
camp, therefore, to prevent their total eventual destruction 
at the hands of the more numerous Yanktons, moved to- 
wards the country of Ke-nis-te-no, with whom they had 
always waged a never-ending warfare ; and preferring to 
trust themselves to their generosity rather than to the vin- 
dictive hatred of their own kindred, they collected the 
women and children whom in former years they had cap- 



tured from them, and adopted in their families. These 
they placed on horses, and loaded with presents, they were 
sent to the great Ke-nis-te-no town on Dead River (Xe-bo- 
se-be), with the peace pipe of the seceding Dakotas, request- 
ing to be received 4 in their lodges' and protected from 
the 4 fire that raged in their rear, on the western prairies.' 

" The manly and compassionate Ke-nis-te-no sent forty of 
their warriors to receive them into their country, and es- 
cort them into their village. A grand council was held, 
where the Assineboins told their grievances, asked for 
protection, and promised to fight by the side of the Ke-nis- 
te-no against the Yanktons forever. 

" Their words were listened to with deep attention and 
pity, and they were accepted as allies and brothers. The 
peace pipe was smoked, k their council fire was made one,' 
and they c ate out of the same dish' and reposed thereafter 
under the ' shade of the same forests and swamps' till 
their united prowess eventually drove the Dakotas from 
the northern plains, and the Ke-nis-te-no and Assineboins 
could then go out occasionally to ' bask in the sun on the 
prairies, and taste the meat of the buffalo.' Shortly after 
this first alliance, the Ojibway made his appearance among 
them, and he too became a party to the mutual compact 
which has been kept unbroken to this day." 

We will now return to the regular course of our narra- 
tive, from which we have digressed in relating: the above 

Soon after the location of the trading post at Grand 
Portage, the same company of traders built a " fort" on 
the island of La Pointe, at the mouth of a small creek or 
pond midway between the present location of the " Amer- 
ican Fur Company's" establishment, and the mission house 
of the " American Board of Foreign Missions." Strong 
palisades of cedar are said to have been planted around 
this post, and a cannon mounted for its defence. The 



Ojibways who had resided on this island, and who occu- 
pied the surrounding shores of the lake, now traded at this 
establishment, and they learned to pitch their lodges once 
more on the spot which they had on a previous occasion so 
suddenly evacuated. 

Many, it is true, had been drawn back to Sault Ste. 
Marie, Mackinaw, and even further east, to visit the spots 
which the feet of their ancestors had once trodden, and on 
which they had left their bones to moulder and decay. 
Yet those that remained still formed a formidable body 
numbering many hundreds of warriors and hunters, and 
their trade for many years made the post located on the 
island of their ancient town, a most important and lucra- 
tive one. 

At this time it is said that the French worked the cop- 
per mines on Lake Superior extensively, and doubtless 
many, if not all of the signs which are at the present day 
being discovered by the American miners, are the remains 
of the former works of these old French pioneers. When 
the British subsequently conquered this section of country 
in 1763, the Indians state that the French miners carefully 
covered the mines which they had been working, so that 
their conquerors might not have the advantage of their 

The first old French "Fort" at La Pointe was not 
maintained many years before a bloody murder was en- 
acted within its walls, which resulted in its final disman- 
tling and evacuation. The clerk or trader in charge was 
named Joseph. He passed his last winter there with his 
wife, two children, and with but one Canadian " Coureur 
du Bois." This man, it appears from his after confession, 
had conceived an unlawful passion for his master's wife, 
and he took occasion one morning when the unsuspecting 
Joseph had gone to shoot ducks in an adjacent pond, to 
press his suit to the wife, who, however, threatened to in- 



form her husband of his treachery. On this the wretch 
attempted to force her to his wishes, but she, seizing an 
Indian spear which happened to stand in a corner of the 
room where this scene was being enacted, defended herself 
in such a manner and jeoparded his life to such a degree, 
that he was forced in self-defence to take her life. 

Having performed this bloody deed, he loaded a gun, 
and placing himself behind the gate of the " Fort," he 
awaited anxiously the return of his unsuspecting master, 
whom, as he entered the gateway, he shot in the back, 
causing his immediate death. He next murdered the eld- 
est child, a girl about six years of age, and was proceeding 
to finish his bloody work by taking the life of the young- 
est, when his black heart misgave him. The child had 
been his pet, and was just beginning to run about and lisp 
its childish prattle, and at first he could not find it within 
him to take its innocent life. His qualms of conscience, 
however, did not last long, for becoming tired of its cease- 
less cries for its parents, after he had preserved its life 
three days, he murdered the little one in cold blood, and 
made its grave with his other victims in a heap of shav- 
ings and other rubbish, which had accumulated in a corner 
of the Fort. 

This bloody tragedy was perpetrated in the spring of 
the year, when the Indians were all away at their sugnr 
camps on the main shore, and at a time when the ice on 
the lake had become so weak and rotten as to make it un- 
safe to cross or travel on it. Notwithstanding the state of 
the ice, the guilty man, who could not bear to remain in 
solitude surrounded with the evidences of his bloody deed, 
attempted to make his escape, but having twice broken 
through the ice. and with difficulty saved his life, and (as 
he confessed) being drawn back by an invisible power, he 
returned to the scene of his crime, to patiently await its 



When the ice had disappeared and melted away under 
the rays of the spring sun, the Indians once more fre- 
quented the Fort, and on their inquiring for the trader, the 
murderer told them the plausible story, that his master had 
started with his family on a dog train, while the ice was 
still on the lake, to pay them a visit at their sugar camps. 
And as he had never arrived amongst them, all naturally 
supposed that he had broken through the bad ice, and 
drowned with his family. The Ojibways faithfully hunted 
the shores of the island and adjacent main land, for the re- 
mains of their lost trader, but as may be supposed, they 
searched in vain. 

In the course of the spring a light canoe arrived from 
Montreal by way of Grand Portage, containing one of the 
factors of the fur company, to whom belonged the post. 

At first the plausible tale of the murderer was credited, 
but marks of blood having been discovered on the walls of 
the room where the trader's wife had been murdered, and 
his evident confusion on being asked the cause of them, 
led immediately to suspicion, and he was from that time 
arrested and confined. 

Shortly after this, the factor, while walking around the 
precincts of the fort, endeavoring to discover further traces 
of the murder, happened to push his sword cane into the 
pile of rubbish where the murderer had buried the bodies 
of his unfortunate victims, and the stench on the end of 
his cane led to a complete discovery. The bodies were 
immediately disinterred in presence of the guilty wretch, 
who now confessed his crime. 

The fort was evacuated, and the cannon and iron works 
were thrown into the adjacent pond, which having a deep 
and miry bottom, they have uever been discovered by the 
Indians, who often afterwards searched for them. The site 
of this old post is still plainly discernible from small mounds 
of stone and rubbish which once formed the chimneys of the 



dwellings, which are still to be found on the spot where it 
once stood. The murderer was taken to Montreal, and 
the Indians at this day say that he was torn to pieces by 
horses being attached to each of his arms and legs, and 
caused to pull in different directions. 

Another account has it, and coming from the lips of old 
traders and half-breeds, I am disposed to believe it as the 
truth, that the guilty wretch managed to escape from his 
keepers on the route to Montreal, and seeking refuge 
among the Hurons, he adopted their dress and customs, 
and learned to speak their language. On one occasion 
being present at a war-dance, when the Indian warriors 
were striking the " red stake" and telling their different 
exploits performed in war against their enemies, the mur- 
derer stepped into their midst, and likewise striking the 
stake, he related his deed of treachery and blood, expect- 
ing to be honored by the red men as a brave man, for the 
exploit. He was however mistaken, for before he had 
finished his tale of the bloody deed, an Indian warrior 
arose, and stepping up to him with the single exclamation 
of " Dog," he buried a tomahawk deep into his brain. The 
narrative of this event has been carefully preserved and 
handed down by the old traders, and it is presented here 
as I have learned it from them. 

The tale as the Indians tell it, is somewhat mixed with 
the superstitious and unnatural, though in the main inci- 
dents they fully agree with the trader's account. They 
give as a cause for the murder, that the "Coureur du Bois" 
had pilfered goods during the winter to such an amount 
that his master threatened to report his conduct to the 
Factors on their first visit, and have him taken to Quebec 
as a culprit. To prevent this disgrace and punishment, 
the man first killed his master, as has been related, and 
then attempted rape on his wife, who forced him to kill her 
by her active self-defence with the Indian spear. Only in 


this respect do the Indians differ in the account from that 
which I have given, and which is said to have been the 
confession of the murderer himself. 1 

I learn from Michel Cadotte, and the venerable John 
Baptist Corbin, who came into the Ojibway country when 
he was twenty years of age and has remained fifty-six 
years, that this event occurred just one hundred and thirty 
years ago, in the year 1722. 

1 This story as told by the trader, William Morrison, in August, 1822, appeared 
in the Detroit Gazette, and is reprinted in Vol. VIII. of Wisconsin Historical 
Collections. The published account says the tragedy of killing the trader, his 
wife and child, occurred during the -winter of 17G0-61, and that on his way to 
Montreal for trial he was released on the St. Lawrence River, and fought with 
the Indians against the British. His boasting of his murders took place at a 
dance near Sault Ste. Marie. The Indians, disgusted with his tale of cruelty, 
invited him to a feast, and as soon as he commenced to eat, he was informed 
by the chief that as soon as he stopped, he would be killed. He ate for a long 
time, but at last had to stop, when he was soon lifeless. His body was boiled, 
but the young men would not eat, for they said " he was worse than a bad 
dog." — E. D. N. 






Warfare between the Ojibways and Iroquois — Ojibways, Pottawatumies, 
Ottaways, and Wyandots join in alliance against the Iroquois, to open the 
route to Quebec' — Iroquois driven from Canada — Tradition of the last battle 

• fought between the Ojibways and Iroquois— The French favor the Algic 
tribes against their enemies — War between the Ojibways and O-dug-am-ees 
or Foxes — Tradition of the old hunter— He with his family are attacked by 
the Foxes — Indian fight — Revenge of the old hunter — Foxes are driven 
from the Wisconsin — They retire to the Mississippi and ask to be incor- 
porated with the O-sau-kies. 

Besides carrvins; on an inveterate and exterminating 
warfare with the powerful Dakotas and cruel Foxes, the 
Ojibways were obliged to keep up their ancient feud with 
the JSaudoways, or Iroquois, towards the east. For a time 
the powerful confederation of Six Xations prevailed 
against the Algic tribes who had taken possession of the 
great northern chain of lakes, mostly through their having 
been first supplied with fire-arms by the Dutch ana British 
of New York. 

They became possessed of the country bordering the 
Ottaway River, and effectually barred their enemies from 
communication with the French who resided on the St. 
Lawrence. Their anxiety to open the road to the white 
traders, in order to procure fire-arms and their much cov- 
eted commodities, induced the Ojibways, Ottaways, Potta- 
watumies, Osaukies, and "\Vya11dot3 to enter into a firm 
alliance. They sent their united forces against the Iro- 
quois, and fighting severe and bloody battles, they event- 
ually forced them to retire from Canada. 


From this time, now upwards of five generations a^o, 
the route from Lake Superior to the French settlement cm 
the St. Lawrence hecame comparatively free and open, 
though the trading parties were often waylaid by the am- 
bushed warriors of the Iroquois on the Ottaway River. 

The warlike, confederated tribes whom the French early 
designated with the name of Iroquois, gave not up their 
long contest with the allied Algics, without a severe and 
protracted struggle. They often collected their forces, and 
marching westward, their hardy warriors became familiar 
with the shores of Lake Huron, the banks of the Ste. 
Marie, and often even procured scalps on the shores ot 
Lake Superior. At one time the Ottaways were forced to 
retire from the Straits of Mackinaw, and the island? of 
Lake Huron, through fear of these redoubtable eastern 
warriors. The last important battle between the Ojibways 
and the Iroquois, took place about one hundred years ago 
at a point on Lake Superior, a short distance above its 
outlet, which has to this day retained the name of Point 
Iroquois. The Sault Ste. Marie Ojibways are probably 
better acquainted with the details of this occurrence than 
those from whom I have obtained the account which is 
here given, as they are locally interested in the tradition. 

Ke-che-wash-keenh or Great Buffalo, chief of La Pointe, 
briefly gives the following version of the affair : — 

" The Ojibways, one time collected a war party on the 
shores of the Great Lake, which proceeded eastward 
against their old enemies the Xaud-o-ways. On their rood 
to the country of these people, they one evening encamped 
on a point of the lake shore a short distance above Bow-e- 
ting (Ste. Marie). They had lighted their fires for the 
night and commenced cooking their suppers, when the 
sounds of distant yelling and laughter came indistinctly 
to their ever-listening ears. The noise appeared to come 
from the other side of the point, immediately opposite the 



spot where they had encamped. Scouts were sent to re- 
connoitre the noisy party, whom they supposed to be trad- 
ers proceeding up the lake to trade with their people. 

" These scouts soon returned on a run, and informed their 
party that they had seen a large war party of Xaud-o-ways, 
who were encamped, drinking firewater, and carousing 
with perfect carelessness, and apparently with every sense 
of security. The Ojibways quickly extinguished their 
blazing tires, and making their usual preparations for a 
desperate fight, they noiselessly approached and surrounded 
the encampment of their boisterous and drunken enemies. 
They silently awaited the moment when nearly all had 
drunk themselves insensible, and the remainder had fallen 
asleep, for the war whistle to sound the onset. They at- 
tacked them with great fury, and it is said that but few of 
the Eaud-o-ways escaped the Ojibways' tomahawk and 
scalping knife on this bloody occasion/' 

The " Six Nations" never after this made incursions into 
the country of the Lake Superior Ojibways, and from this 
occurrence may be dated the ending of the long and fierce 
warfare which these two people had been waging against 
one another. 1 

The French always favored the Ojibway and other Algic 
tribes in their war with the Xew York tribes, and for 
this, they often suffered at the hands of the Iroquois, who 
waylaid their canoes laden with merchandise on the route 
up the Great Chain of Lakes. 

For providing the Ojibways also with fire-arms, and 
through this causing them to become too powerful for their 
western enemies, the French incurred the dislike and 
hatred of the Dakota and O-dug-am-ee tribes, who on one 
occasion made their deep enmity evident, by making war 

1 Perrot givee a history of this conflict. See Memoirs edited by Tailhan, 
pp. 97, 98.— E. D. N. 


on them and attacking their fort at \Vow-e-yat-ton-ong or 
Detroit, which was only saved by the combined efforts of 
the O-dah- wahs and Ojibways under the leadership of the 
renowned Pontiac, who had already at this period, 1746, 
commenced to carve out the renown which he eventually 

It is shortly after this period that the O-dug-am-ees 
again incurred the vengeance of the Ojibways, who a 
second time attacked and swept away their villages. It 
has been stated that on their being driven from the head- 
waters of the St. Croix and Chippeway rivers, they had 
retired to the Wisconsin and into the country bordering 
on Lake Michigan. The tradition of their second invasion 
by the Ojibways, is given as follows by the old Indian story 
tellers : — 

An old Ojibway hunter with his wife, two sons, and 
their families, were one winter hunting about the head 
lakes of the Wisconsin River. As thev searched for game 
they moved from camp to camp *by slow and easy stages, 
and being of a fearless disposition, they formed the south- 
ern vanguard of numerous other families similarly em- 
ployed and following slowly in their wake. 

They had arrived in the vicinity of the usual hunting 
grounds of the O-dug-am-ees, and now at every camp they 
formed a barrier of los-s and bushes to shield them from a 
sudden attack of their enemies. One morning early, one 
of the sons of the old hunter, as usual, put on his moccasins, 
tied his blanket around his body, and, shouldering his gun, 
started on his da}-'s hunt. It was snowing heavily, and the 
rest of the family remained at home. The hunter had 
been gone but a short time when he returned, and, without 
saying a word, sat down in his usual place, and commenced 
whittling his bullets so that they could be easily and 
quickly thrown into his gun. When he had finished this 
work, he took his gun, drew out the load, and carefully 



cleansed it. He then sharpened his knife, and placed his 
war-club and spear ready at hand for immediate use. 

The old hunter watched the singular preparations of 
his silent son, and suspecting that he had discovered signs 
of an enemy, arose, and saying that he would go and cut 
a few sticks of the red willow to smoke, he left the lodge 
to go and see with his own and more experienced eyes, 
what were the signs of danger. He had proceeded but a 
few steps in the adjacent forest, when he discovered a 
strange track in which there were but a few flakes of the 
fast falling snow. His Indian sagacity told him that it 
was the foot-print of an O-dug-am-ee, and returning to the 
wigwam, he proposed to his family an immediate flight to 
some neighboring camp of their friends. The silent son now 
spoke, and told his father that flight had become imprao. 
ticable, for they were entirely surrounded by a very large 
war-party of their enemies. u All we can do,'' said he, " i3 
to prepare for death ; for I have seen the trail of the O-dug- 
am-ee warriors, and it is deep-beaten and wide ; many feet 
have trodden it." 

Determined to defend their women and children to the 
last gasp, the Ojibwa} 7 hunters cut down a few more trees 
and strengthened the barrier around their wisrwam. Xio\ht 
gradually came and covered everything in deep darkness 
and gloom, yet still was the expected attack deferred. 
The imitated hootings of the owl, and howling of wolves 
which resounded from different parts of the forest, but too 
plainly told the hunters that the O-dug-am-ee wolves had 
surrounded their camp, and only waited the first dawn of 
day (the Indian's favorite hour), to make the attack. 

The old hunter being- anxious to save a portion of his 
kindred, took two girls — his grandchildren — each by the 
hand and silently led them some distance into the surround- 
ing woods, amid the darkness, and informing them the 
direction tUey were to go— to be judged by the wind, and 


fast falling flakes of snow, he bade them save their lives 
by flight and inform their people of his fate. 

The old man then turned to his lodge, and he listened 
anxiously for the yell that would denote the discovery 
and death of " the little birds which he had let out to fly 
away." That expected yell came not, and the old man 
became satisfied that his two grandchildren were safe. 

At the first dawn of morning, the O-dug-am-ees com- 
menced the attack with loud and thrilling war whoops. 
The Ojibways defended themselves bravely, and as long as 
their ammunition lasted, they kept their numerous assail- 
ants at bay, and sent many of their more hardy warriors 
to the land of Spirits; but as soon as their powder gave 
out they ceased firing, the O-dug-am-ees rushed into their 
camp, and leaping over their barrier of logs and brush, 
the work of death and scalping commenced. The Ojib- 
ways died not without a desperate struggle, for even the 
grandmother of the family cut down an enemy with her 
axe before she received the death stroke. All perished 
but the old hunter, who, during the last brave struggle of 
his two sons, miraculously escaped through the dense 
ranks of his eager foes, entirely naked and covered with 
blood from numerous wounds. 

He had not proceeded far before he met a small party 
of his friends, who had been informed of the desperate situ- 
ation of his camp, by the two girls whom he had caused to 
escape during the previous night. At the head of this 
party, though almost dead with fatigue and loss of blood, 
the old man returned, and found his wigwam in ashes. 
The O-dug-am-ee wolves had already done their work and 
departed, and the bodies of his murdered kindred scalped, 
dismembered, cut and hashed into a hundred pieces, lay 
strewn about on the blood-stained snow. 

At this horrid spectacle the Ojibway party, though feeble 
in numbers, recklessly followed the return trail of the per- 



petrators, depending for help, should they enter into a pre- 
mature engagement with them, upon the different camps 
of their tribe, to whom runners had been sent during the 
night. They had not proceeded far on the deep-beaten 
trail of their enemies, when they beheld one of their num- 
ber who had been left in the rear, walking leisurely along; 
perfectly deaf and unconscious to the approach of the aven- 
ging Ojibways, he fell an easy victim under their toma- 

They still ran on, till hearing a distant halloo, which 
was repeated nearer and nearer, they hid themselves in 
the deep snow near the trail. 

The O-dug-am-ees having stopped to smoke, and missing 
one ol their number, first hallooed to him, and on his not 
answering, they sent two of their young men to go back 
and bring him up. These two men were dispatched by 
the ambushed Ojibways, and as they too, did not return, 
the impatient O-dug-am-ees sent three more of their party 
to go and see what kept them, and they likewise met the 
same fate as their fellows. Becoming yet more impatient 
for the return of their companions, a large number of the 
O-dug-am-ees arose and ran back in search of them. On 
these, the ambushed Ojibways were obliged to fire, and 
immediately retreating, a running fight commenced. The 
whole force of their enemies now hearing the firing of 
guns, joined their fellows, and the Ojibways would soon 
have been annihilated, had not a large party of their friends, 
guided by the noise of the fight, arrived to their rescue. 
This timely reinforcement wisely ambushed themselves 
behind the trees near the trail, and as the O-dug-am-ees were 
eagerly following the retreating party, the hidden Ojib- 
ways fell on them with great fury, and in the first surprise 
succeeded in killing a large number, and they eventually 
forced the remainder to retreat and fly back to their vil- 
lages with the black paint of mourning on their faces. 



Though having partially revenged the death of his kin- 
dred in this fight, yet the old Ojibway hunter was not sat- 
isfied. For two years he secluded himself from his people, 
and accompanied only hy his two grandchildren, he made 
his hunts where beaver was to be found in the greatest 
plenty. During this time he laid by the fruits of his soli- 
tary hunts, and having collected sufficient for his pur- 
poses, he loaded a large canoe with large packs of beaver 
skins, and made a journey to Detroit, which was then a 
grand depot for the fur trade, and contained a garrison of 
French soldiers. 

Blacking his face with coal, placing ashes on his head, 
and gashing his body with his knife, causing himself to 
be covered with blood as a sign of deep mourning ami 
affliction, he presented himself before his " French father," 
told him the tale of his wrongs, and presenting his packs 
of rich beaver, he asked for help to revenge himself against 
his foes. 

The O-dug-am-ees had always evinced a bad feeling to- 
ward the French, and on several occasions they had plun- 
dered and murdered their traders. They were a restless 
and troublesome tribe, continually embroiled in mischief, 
and a short time previous they had attempted with the 
assistance of the Dakotas and O-saug-ees to take the 
French fort at Detroit. The appeal of the old Ojibway 
hunter, therefore, was listened to by willing ears. Ammu- 
nition and guns were freely given him, and a number of 
Frenchmen were promised to aid him in his intended in- 
vasion of the O-dug-am-ee country. The old hunter, being 
supplied with the necessary means, easily raised a large 
war party of his people, and being joined by his French 
allies, he proceeded to the hunting grounds of his enemies, 
and after severe fighting destroyed two of the principal 
O-dug-am-ee villages, and drove the remnants of this obnox- 



ious tribe from the shores of Lake Michigan, and the 
Wisconsin River. 

Enfeebled in numbers, the O-dug-am-ees retired westward 
to the Mississippi River, and fearing a total extinguish- 
ment of their national fire, it is at this time that they first 
joined the lodges of the Osaugees, and requested to be in- 
corporated into that tribe. Their petition was denied, 
though the Osaugees allowed them to remain in their vil- 
lages till they had in some degree regained, by a long term 
of quiet and peace, their former strength and numbers. 




A description of Mille Lacs, and its advantages as a home for the Indian — It 
is occupied by the Dakotas in 1080 — Traditions of the Ojibvvays detailing the 
manner in which they, in turn, finally obtained possession. 

Mille Lacs, the M 7 de Wakan, or Spirit Lake of the 
Dakotas, 1 and the Mi?si-sag-i-egan or " the lake that 
spreads all over" of the Ojibways, is one of the largest and 
most beautiful sheets of water in Minnesota Territory. 2 
It lies imbedded in deep forests, midway between the Mis- 
sissippi and the head of Lake Superior. Its picturesque 
shores are skirted with immense groves of valuable sugar 
maple, and the soil on which they grow is not to be sur- 
passed in richness hy any section of country in the north- 
west. ^ 

The lake is nearly circular in form, though indented 
with deep bays, and the view over its waters broken here 
and there by hold points or promontories. It is about 
twenty miles across from shore to shore, and a person 
standing on its pebbly beach on a clear, calm day, can but 
just discern the blue outlines of the opposite side, especially 
as the country surrounding it is comparatively low and 
level. Its waters are clear and pure as the waters of Lake 
Superior, and fish of the finest species are found to abound 

1 Mille Lacs so called because it is the largest of the numerous lakes, Mille 
Lacs (Thousand Lakes) of this region. Upon Franquelin's Map of 1GSS, it is 
called Buade, the family name of Count Frontenac then governor of Canada, 
and Rum River its outlet is called Riviere des Francois (French River) or 
Sioux River. Upon Hennepin's Map RiviSre des Frangois is R. de St. Francis. 

— e. d. n. 

2 Written in A. D. 1852. Minnesota in 1858 was admitted as one of the 
United States of America. — E. D. N. 



thereih. Connected with it is a string of marshy, or mud- 
bottomed, lakes in which the water is but a few feet deep, 
and wherein the wild rice of the north grows luxuriantly, 
and in the greatest abundance. 

Possessing these and other advantages, there is not a 
spot in the north w r est which an Indian would sooner choose 
as a home and dwelling place, than Mille Lacs. It is not 
then to be wondered at, that for nearly two centuries, it 
has formed a bone of strife and contention between the 
Ojibways and Dakotas. 

The name of the still large and important band of Da- 
kotas known as the Mde wakantons, has been derived 
from this lake ; they now dwell on the Mississippi and the 
lower portions of the Minnesota River. 1 Their ancestors 
were dwellers on Spirit Lake, and their bones have enriched 
the soil about its shores. 

I gather from " A sketch of the early trade and traders 
of Minnesota," by the Rev. Edward D. Xeill, of St. Paul, 
published in the Annals of the Minnesota Historical So- 
ciety for 1852, that in the year 1680, the Franciscan priest 
Hennepin, with two companions named Michael Ako 2 and 
Picard du Gay, were taken captive by the Dakotas of Mille 

1 The M'dewakantons (Spirit Lake People), in 1852 were divided into seven 
bands, who dwelt on the western banks of the Mississippi and in the lower 
Minnesota valley. The Ki-yuk-sa band lived below Lake Pepin. Another 
band dwelt at Re-mni-ca (Hill, water and wood) now Red Wing, a few miles 
above Lake Pepin. Kaposia band, four miles below St. Paul, Grey Iron's 
band at Black Dog's village on the south bank of the Minnesota, above Men- 
dota. Oak Grove band and Good Road's band on the upper bank of the 
Minnesota, eight miles above Fort Snelling. Shokpedan, or Little Six, band 
near the present town of Shakopee. 

• In 1854 they were living on a reservation in the valley of the upper Minne- 
sota River. The Kaposia band was four miles below the mouth of the Red 
Wood River, Shokpedan's band at the mouth of that stream, while those of 
Wapathaand Waukouta were nearer the white settlements, and remained here 
until after the massacre of 1862, when they were removed to the valley of the 
Missouri River. — E. D. N. 

* Also spelled Accault. La Salle writes that Ako was the leader of the 
party.— E. D. N. 



Lacs. This fact is mentioned here to show that at this 
date, this tribe still held possession, and resided on or near 
this lake. It is further stated that through the influence 
of the early French traders who first built posts in their 
country, among whom may be mentioned as most conspic- 
uous the names of Nicholas Perrot and Le Sueur, " the Da- 
kotas began to be led away from the rice grounds of the 
Mille Lacs region." 

Tradition among the Ojibways says otherwise. They 
deny that the influence of the traders could induce the Mde- 
wakantons to evacuate such a desirable point in their coun- 
try as Mille Lacs, a spot covered with their permanent 
earthen 1 wigwams, and the resting place of their forefathers. 

Our own experience of the great love and attachment 
which the red race has ever shown to their ancient village 
sites, would cause us to doubt this assertion on the part of 
the Dakotas. It is sooner to be believed that the same 
force which has caused them to relinquish, step by step, all 
their former country east of the Mississippi during the 
course of the past two or three centuries, operated to drive 
them from this, their strongest hold of olden times. 

The manner in which the Ojibways first came into pos- 
session of Mille Lacs, is vividly related by their old men, 
and this event forms a prominent item in the course of 
their past history. The tradition of this occurrence is 
briefly as follows, taken by the writer from the lips of one 
of their most truth-telling sages, who is now a resident of 
Mille Lacs, and who is the descendant of a long line of 
noted chiefs. 


Five generations ago, shortly after the Ojibways resid- 
ing on the shores of Lake Superior had commenced to 

1 The early French explorers only mention wigwams of bark or skins. 
— E. D. N. 



obtain fire-arms and ammunition of the old French traders, 
a firm peace existed between them and the Dakotas, who 
then resided on the head waters of the Mississippi and the 
midland country which lay between this river and the 
Great Lake. 

Good-will existed between the two tribes, and the road3 
to their villages were clear and unobstructed. Peace-par- 
ties of the Dakotas visited the wigwams of the Ojibways, 
and the Ojibways, in like manner, visited the Tepees and 
earthen lodges of the Dakotas. The good feeling existing 
between them was such, that intermarriages even took 
place between them. 

It appears, however, impossible, that these two power- 
ful tribes should ever remain long in peace with each 
other. On this occasion the war-club had lain buried but 
a few winters, when it was again violently dug up, and 
the ancient feud raged more fiercely than ever. 

Ill-will was first created in the breasts of the two tribes 
against one another, through a quarrel which happened 
between an Ojibway and a Dakota gallant, respecting a 
woman whom they both courted. The woman was a 
Dakota, and the affair took place at a village of her people. 
Of her two suitors she preferred the Ojibway, and the re- 
jected gallant, in revenge, took the life of his successful rival. 
This act, however, did not result in immediate hostilities; 
it only reminded the warriors of the two tribes that they 
had once been enemies ; it required a more aggravating cause 
than this to break the ties which several years of good 
understanding and social intercourse had created between 
them, and this cause was not long in forthcoming. 

There was an old man residing at Fond du Lac of Lake 
Superior, which place had at this time, already become an 
important village of the Ojibways. This old man was 
looked upon by his people with much respect and con- 
sideration : though not a chief, he was a great hunter, and 


his lodge ever abounded in' plenty. He belonged to the 
Marten Totem family. He was blessed with four sons, all 
of whom were full grown and likely men, " fair to look 
upon." They were accustomed to make frequent visits to 
the villages of the Dakotas, and they generally returned 
laden with presents, for the young women of their tribe 
looked on them with wishful and longing eyes. 

Shortly after the quarrel about the woman had taken 
place, which resulted in the death of an Ojibway, the four 
brothers paid the Dakotas one of their usual peaceful visits; 
they proceeded to their great town at Mille Lac, which was 
but two days from their own villages. During this visit, 
one of the brothers was treacherously murdered, and but 
three returned with safety to their father's wigwam. 

The old man did not even complain when he heard that 
their former enemies had sent his son to travel on the 
Spirit road ; and shortly after, when his three surviving 
sons asked his permission to go again to enter the lodges 
of the Dakotas, he told them to go, u for probably," said 
he, " they have taken the life of my son through mistake.'' 
The brothers proceeded as before to Mille Lac, and on this 
occasion, two of them were again treacherously killed, and 
but one returned to the wigwam of his bereaved father. 
The fount of the old man's tears still did not open, though 
he blacked his face in mourning, and his head hung down 
in sorrow. 

Once more his sole surviving son requested to pay the 
Dakotas a peace visit, that he might look on the graves of 
his deceased brethren. His sorrow stricken parent said to 
him, "go, my son, for probably they have struck your 
brothers through mistake." Day after day rolled over, 
till the time came when he had promised to return. The 
days, however, kept rolling on, and the young man re- 
turned not to cheer the lonely lodge of his father. A full 
moon passed over, and still he made not his appearance 



and the old man became convinced that the Dakotas had 
sent him to join his murdered brethren in the land of 
Spirits. Now, for the first time, the bereaved father began 
to weep, the fount of his tears welled forth bitter drops, 
and he mourned bitterly for his lost children. 

"An Ojibway warrior never throws away his tears," 
and the old man determined to have revenge. For two 
years he busied himself in making preparations. With 
the fruits of his hunts he procured ammunition and other 
materials for a war party. He sent his tobacco and war- 
club to the remotest villages of his people, detailing his 
wrong and inviting them to collect by a certain day at 
Fond du Lac, to go with him in " search for his lost child- 
ren." His summons was promptly and numerously 
obeyed, and nearly all the men of his tribe residing on the 
shores of the Great Lake, collected by the appointed time 
at Fond du Lac. Their scalping knives had long rusted in 
disuse, and the warriors were eager once more to stain 
them with the blood of their old enemy. 

Having made the customary preparations, and invoked 
the Great Spirit to their aid, this large war party which 
the old man had collected, left Fond du Lac, and followed 
the trail towards Mille Lac, which was then considered 
the strongest hold of their enemies, and where the blood 
which they went to revenge had been spilt. The Dakotas 
occupied the lake in two large villages, one being located 
on Cormorant point, and the other at the outlet of the lake. 
A few miles below this last village, they possessed another 
considerable village on a smaller lake, connected with 
Mille Lac by a portion of Rum River which run through 
it. These villages consisted mostly of earthen wigwams 
such as are found still to be in use among the Arickarees 
and other tribes residing on the Upper Missouri. 

The vanguard of the Ojibways fell on the Dakotas at 
Cormorant point early in the morning, and such was the 


extent of the war party, that before the rear had arrived, 
the battle at this point had already ended by the almost 
total extermination of its inhabitants ; a small remnant 
only, retired in their canoes to the greater village located 
at the entry. This, the Ojibways attacked with all their 
forces ; after a brave defence with their bows and barbed 
arrows, the Dakotas took refuge in their earthen lodges 
from the more deadly weapons of their enemy. 

The only manner by which the Ojibways could harass 
and dislodge them from these otherwise secure retreats, 
was to throw small bundles or bags of powder into the 
aperture made in the top of each, both for the purpose of 
giving light within, and emitting the smoke of the wigwam 
fire. The bundles ignited by the fire, spread death and 
dismay amongst the miserable beings who crowded within. 
Xot having as yet, like the more fortunate Ojibways, been 
blessed with the presence of white traders, the Dakotas 
were still ignorant of the nature of gunpowder, and the 
idea possessing their minds that their enemies were aided 
by spirits, they gave up the fight in despair and were 
easily dispatched. But a remnant retired during the 
darkness of night to their last remaining village on the 
smaller lake. Here they made their last stand, and the 
Ojibways following them up, the havoc among their ranks 
was continued during the whole course of another day. 

The next morning the Ojibways wishing to renew the 
conflict, found the village evacuated by the few who had 
survived their victorious arms. They had fled during the 
night down the river in their canoes, and it became a com- 
mon saying that the former dwellers of Mille Lacs became, 
by this three days' struggle, swept away for ever from their 
tavorite village sites. The remains of their earthen wig- 
wams are still plainly visible in great numbers on the spots 
where these events are said to have occurred ; they are 
now mostly covered by forests of maple trees. The Ojib- 



ways assert as a proof of this tradition, that whenever they 
have dug into these mounds, which they occasionally do, 
they have discovered human bones in great abundance and 
lying scattered promiscuously in the soil, showing that 
they had not been regularly buried, but were cut in pieces 
and scattered about, as Indians always treat those they slay 
in battle. 

It is as well to state here, that some of the old men who 
relate this tradition, give the name of O-maum-ee to the 
former dwellers of Mille Lacs, and they further assert that 
these people were totally exterminated on. this occasion. 
The more intelligent affirm that they were the Ab-oin or 
Dakotas, who having their principal village on a peninsula, 
or Min-a-waum, were known in those days by the name of 
O-maum-ee. This, connected with the fact afforded us by 
the early French explorers, Hennepin, Du Luth and Le 
Sueur, that the Mde wakantons were former dwellers of 
Mille Lacs, is sufficient to prove the identity of the people- 
whom the Ojibways drove from its possession. 

Ojibway tradition further states that the Dakotas who 
had been driven from Mille Lacs, made another village 
on Rum River, and that they did not -finally leave this 
region of country 1 till about the year 1770, after their 
great expedition or war party to the head- waters of the 
Mississippi, which resulted in the battle of Crow r Wing, as 
will be related in a future chapter. 

1 The Mete wakanton Sioux used to assert that about the year 17S0, they 
lived in one village, on the banks of the Minnesota, a short distance above Men- 
dota. — E. D. N. 




A peace is effected between the Ojibways and Dakotas by the French traders 
about the year 1095 — The French locate a post among the Dakotas — Ojib- 
ways locate a permanent village at Rice Lake — Intermarriages between them 
and the Dakotas — Origin of the Wolf Totem among the Ojibways and of the 
Merman Totem among the Dakotas — The feud between them is again re- 
newed—Causes thereof— Battle of Point Prescott — The Dakota captive — 
Consequences of the new rupture — Peace is renewed between the Rice Lake 
Ojibways and the St. Croix Lake Dakotas — Ojibways form a village at 
Yellow Lake — Tale of O-mig-aun-dib — The war becomes general. 

After the sanguinary battle which resulted in the total 
evacuation of Mille Lacs by the Dakotas, the ancient feud 
between them and the Ojibways raged with great fury, 
and it is at this period that the latter tribe first began to 
beat the Dakotas from the Rice Lakes of the St. Croix 
River region which they had long occupied in conjunction 
with the Odug-am-ees. The pipe of peace was not again 
smoked between the two belligerent tribes, till the old 
French traders had obtained a firm foothold among the 
Dakotas, and commenced an active trade. 

According to the Indian mode of counting time, this 
event occurred four generations ago, or about the year 1695. 
It was brought about only through the most strenuous 
efforts of the French traders who resided among the Ojib- 
ways on Lake Superior, and those who had at this time 
built a post among the Dakotas near the mouth of the 
St. Croix River. 1 

1 Bernard de la Harpe writes that in 1695 " Mr. Le Sueur by order of the 
Count de Frontenac, Governor General of Canada, built a fort on an island 
In the Mississippi more than 200 leagues above the Illinois, iri order to effect a 
peace between the Sauteurs natives who dwell on the shores of a lake of live 



The ill-will between the two tribes had risen to such a 
pitch that it required every persuasion, and the gift of 
large presents, to effect a reconciliation. The French, 
during the course of the bloody warfare between these two 
powerful tribes, while travelling through their country on 
their trading and exploring expeditions, had often suf- 
fered death indiscriminately with Dakota or Ojibway, at 
the hands of their blood-seeking war parties. 

The interests of the fur trade had also severely suffered, 
for the warriors of either tribe, neglected their hunts to 
join in the more favorite pastime of war and bloodshed, 
and their continually prowling war parties prevented the 
more peaceful-minded and sedate hunters from seeking the 
beaver in the regions where they abounded in the greatest 

Peace being once effected, this deplorable state of affairs 
ceased to exist, and once more these two people hunted on 
their richest hunting grounds without fear and trembling, 
and plenty reigned in their lodges. On the St. Croix the 
two tribes intermingled freely, being more immediately 
under the supervision of their traders. They encamped 
together, and intermarriages took place between them. It 
is at this time that a few lodges of Ojibways first located 
themselves in a permanent village on the waters of the St. 
Croix Eiver. They chose Bice Lake, the head of Shell 
River, which empties into the St. Croix, for their first 
permanent residence and it remains an important village 
of their tribe to this day. 1 

The principal chief of this band, belonging to the 
Awause or Catfish Totem family, is said to have died with- 

hundred leagues circumference, one hundred leagues east of the river, and the 
Scioux on the Upper Mississippi." 

Bellin, the Geographer, mentions that this trading post was upon the largest of 
the islands between Lake Pepin and the mouch of the St. Croix River. — E . D. N. 

* A. D.1852. 



out male issue, and his only daughter married a Dakota 
chief who belonged to the Wolf Clan of his tribe. He 
resided among the Ojibways at Rice Lake during the 
whole course of the peace, and begat by his Ojibway wife, 
two sons who afterward became chiefs, and who of course 
inherited their father's totem of the wolf. In this manner 
this badge became grafted among the Ojibway list of clans. 

At this day, Ojibways of the Wolf Totem are numerous 
on the St. Croix and at Mille Lac, and they are all de- 
scended from this intermarriage, and are therefore tinged 
with Dakota blood. I-aub-aus, present chief of Rice 
Lake, Shon-e-yah (Silver), chief of Po-ka-guma on Snake 
River, and 2Ta-guon-abe (Feathers end), chief of Mille Lacs, 
are direct descendants from the two sons of the Dakota 
chief and the Ojibway chieftainess. 

In like manner Ojibways of the Merman, or Water-spirit 
Totem, which is a branch of the Awause, married Dakota 
women, and begat by them sons, who, residing among the 
Dakotas, introduced in this tribe the badge of their father's 
totem, and all of this totem among the Dakotas are of 
Ojibway extraction, and ever since the period of these 
intermarriages, at every peace meeting of the two tribes, 
all persons of the Wolf and Merman Totem, in each tribe, 
recognize one another as blood relations. 

The peace on this occasion lasted for several years, and 
to some extent they learned to speak each other's language. 
The intermarriages which had taken place between them, 
proved the strongest link of good-will between them, but 
the love of war and bloodshed was so inherent in their 
nature, and the sense of injuries inflicted on one another 
for centuries past rankled so deep in the breasts of many 
in each tribe, that even these ties could not secure a long 
continuance of this happy state of peace and quiet. From 
a comparative slight cause, the flames of their old hatred 
again broke forth with great violence. It originated at a 



war dance which was "being performed by the Dakotas on 
Lake St. Croix, preparatory to marching against some 
tribe of their numerous enemies toward the south. 

On occasions of this nature, the warriors work them- 
selves by hard dancing, yelling, and various contortions of 
the body, into a state of mad excitement ; every wrong 
which they have suffered at the hands of their enemies, 
is brought fresh to their remembrance for the purpose of 
" making the heart strong." 

Under a state of excitement, such as is here described, 
a distinguished Dakota warrior shot a barbed arrow into 
the body of an Ojibway who was dancing with the Dako- 
tas, intending to join them on the war trail against their 
enemies. Some of the old men who relate this tradition, 
assert that the Ojibway was part of Dakota extraction, 
and the fierce warrior who shot him, exclaimed as he did 
so, that "he wished to let out the hated Ojibway blood 
which flowed in his veins." Others state that he was a 
full-blood Ojibway who bad married a Dakota woman, by 
whom he had a large family of children ; that he resided 
with her people, and had become incorporated amongst 
them, joining their war parties against the different tribes 
with whom they were at enmity. 

The ruthless shot did not terminate his life, and after a 
most painful sickness, the wounded man recovered. He 
silently brooded over the wrong so wantonly inflicted on 
him, for the warrior who had injured him was of such 
high standing in his tribe, that he could not revenge him- 
self on him with impunity. After a time he left the 
Dakotas and paid a visit to his Ojibway relatives on Lake 
Superior, who received him into their wigwams with 
every mark of kindness and regard. He poured into their 
willing ears the tale of his wrong, and he succeeded in 
inducing them to raise a war party to march against the 
Dakota encampment on Lake St. Croix. 



While thi3 party was collecting at the Bay of Shaug-a- 
waum-ik-ong, the avenger returned to his home and family 
amongst the Dakotas, and amused their ears with accounts 
of his visit to his people's villages. He told them that a 
large party would soon arrive to smoke the pipe of peace 
with them. Fully believing these tales, the Dakotas col- 
lected their scattered hunters, and sent runners to their 
different villages to invite their people to come and camp 
with them, in order to receive the expected peace party of 
the Ojibways, and join in the amusements which generally 
ensued whenever they thus met in considerable numbers. 
The tribe (being the season of the year which they gene- 
rally passed in leisure and recreation), gathered in large 
numbers, and pitched their camp on the south shore of 
Lake St. Croix, near its outlet into the Mississippi. 

The centre or main portion of their camp (which stretched 
for a long distance along the shore of the lake), was located 
at Point Prescott. A few lodges also stood on the opposite 
shore of the lake, and at Point Douglas. 

The Dakotas, believing the reported peaceable disposition 
of their former enemies, became careless, and hunted in 
apparent security; they did not (as is usual when appre- 
hensive of a sudden attack), send scouts to watch on the 
surrounding hills for the approach of an enemy, and the 
Ojibways arrived within a close vicinity of their camp 
without the least discover v. Durins; the nistfit, the leaders 
of the war party sent five young men who could speak the 
Dakota language most fluently, to go and spy the lodges 
of the enemy, note their situation, and find out their num- 
ber. The five scouts entered the encampment at different 
points, and drawing their robes closely over their heads 
they walked about unsuspected by the young Dakota 
gallants or night walkers, who were out watching the lodge 
fires to flicker away in embers, in order to enter and in the 
darkness court their sweet hearts. 



After having made the rounds of the almost endless rows 
of lodges, the scouts returned to their party, and informed 
their leaders that they had counted three hundred lodges, 
when they became confused and could count no more. 
Also, that from the different idioms of their language which 
they had heard spoken in different sections of the camp, they 
judged that the distant bands of the Sisseton and Yankton 
Dakotas were represented therein in considerable numbers; 
they also told of the general carelessness, and feeling of 
security which prevailed throughout the camp. 

Having obtained this information, the Ojibways being 
strong in the number of their warriors, prepared them- 
selves for battle, and at the earliest dawn of morning, 
they marched on the sleeping encampment of the Dakotas. 
They made their approach by a deep ravine which led 
through the high bluffs (which here bound the shores of the 
lake) on to the narrow prairie which skirts the water side, 
and on which was pitched the leathern lodges of the enemy. 
It is said that through the dim twilight, the advancing 
warriors saw a woman step out of the nearest lodge to 
adjust the door covering which a sudden gust of the rising 
east wind had thrown up ; she stood as if a sound had 
caught her ear, and she listened anxiously, looking up the 
.dark ravine, when she again entered her lodge. She must 
have heard the measured tread of the advancing warriors, 
but mistook it for the moaning of the rising wind, and the 
dashing of the waves on the sandy beach. 

Once fairly debouched on the narrow prairie, the Ojib- 
ways lost no time in extending their wings and enveloping 
the encampment on the land side. When this movement 
had been completed in perfect silence, they gradually 
neared the lodges of their sleeping enemies, and as they 
arrived within the proper distance, and the dogs of the 
encampment began to snuff the air and utter their sharp 
qjiick yelp, the shrill war whistle was sounded by the 



leaders, and suddenly the dread and fear-striking war- 
whoop issued from the lips of hundreds of blood-thirsty 
warriors. Volley after volley of ballets and arrows were 
fired, and discharged into the frail and defenceless tepees, 
and the shrieking and yelling of the inmates as they became 
thus suddenly startled from their sleep, made the uproar 
of the attack truly deafening. 

Completely taken by surprise, the warriors of the Da- 
kotas fought at a disadvantage ; their women and children 
ran shrieking to the water's side, and hastily jumping into 
their narrow wooden canoes, they attempted, to cross to the 
opposite shores of the lake. The wind, however, had in- 
creased in force, and sweeping down the lake in a fearful 
gale, it caused the waves to run high, and in many instances 
the crowded and crank canoes filled with water or upset, 
launching the fleeing women and children into a watery 

After a long and unavailing defence, Such of the Dakota 
warriors as had stood their ground, were obliged to retreat. 
Thirty of their number are said to have fled under a ledge 
of rock, where, being entirely surrounded, they were shot 
down one after another. 

This is one of the most successful war parties which the 
Ojibways tell of. It is said that at each encampment on 
their return homeward, the scalps which they had taken, 
being each tied to the end of a stick three or four feet 
long, were planted close together in a single row, and an 
arrow shot by a strong arm, from one end of this row of 
human scalps, fell short of reaching the other extremity. 

One of their story tellers, who in his youth had long 
remained a captive among the Dakotas, states explicitly, 
that on this occasion, the Ojibways secured three hundred 
and thirty-five scalps, and many more than this are thought 
to have perished in the water. But one captive is men- 
tioned as having been taken, and the circumstances of his 



capture are such that the fact is always mentioned, in con- 
nection with the tale relating the above important event 
in their history. 

It appears that during the heat of the battle, two young 
Ojibway lads who had accompanied their fathers on the 
war trail, entered a Dakota lodge which they supposed had 
been deserted by the fleeing enemy. They, however, found 
it to be occupied by a stout and full-grown Dakota warrior; 
he sat in the lodge in an attitude of sorrow, holding his 
head between his hands, and his elbows resting on his 
raised knees, his unstrung bow and full quiver of arrows 
lay at liis feat, and his war spear stood planted before him. 
He did not even lift his head as the two lads entered, the 
youngest of whom immediately rushed on him, and being 
unarmed, he attempted to secure him as a captive. The 
Dakota took him by the arm and gently pushed him aside. 
The brave little lad, however, persisted, and calling on his 
older comrade to help him, they both fell on the Dakota 
and attempted to secure his arms. He pushed them easily 
away, and quietly resumed his former position, and re- 
mained thus till a number of Ojibway warriors attracted 
by the calls of the young lad, entered the lodge and secured 
him captive. He was given to the boy who first assaulted 
him as his prisoner. 

When asked by an Ojibway who could speak his language, 
the reason why he had acted so strangely, he replied that the 
evening before, his father had scolded him without cause, 
and had heaped shameful epithets on him, under which he 
felt that he could not survive, and be a tenant of his lodge. 
During the night he had dreamed of living amongst the 
Ojibways, and early that morning he was preparing to 
leave his people forever and seek for a new home among 
their villages, when the attack commenced and he deter- 
mined to risk the chances of neutrality. He became a 
great favorite with the family into whose hands he fell, 


and who adopted him as a relative, and when some time 
afterwards, when he was ruthlessly killed by a cowardly 
Ojibway, blood was nearly shed on his account, and with 
great difficulty a tierce family feud prevented from ensuing 
in consequence. 

After the battle of Point Prescott (by which name we may 
designate the event related in this chapter), it may well be 
imagined that the war was renewed with great fury by 
these two powerful tribes, and fights of various magnitude 
and importance took place along the whole country which 
lay between them. 

Ojibways who had intermarried among the Dakotas, 
were obliged to make a sudden and secret flight to their 
former homes, leaving their wives and children. Dakotas 
were obliged to do likewise, and instances are told where 
the parting between husband and wife was most grieving 
to behold. 

After the first fury of the renewed feud had somewhat 
spent itself, it is related that the ties of consanguinity 
which had existed between the Rice Lake or St. Croix 
Ojibways, and the Dakotas were such, that peace again was 
made between them, and though the war raged between 
their tribes in other parts of their extensive country, they 
harmed not one another. 

When the two sons of the Dakota chief, by the chief- 
tainess of Pice Lake, had grown up to be men, the eldest, 
named O-mig-aun-dib (or Sore Head), became chief of the 
Rice Lake band of Ojibways, and he afterwards appointed 
his younger brother to be chief of a branch of his village, 
which had at this time located themselves at Yellow Lake. 
These are the first two permanent villages which the Ojib- ' 
ways made in the St. Croix country. Rice Lake was first 
settled about a century and a half ago, during the peace 
brought about by the French traders. Yellow Lake was 
settled about forty years after. Po-ka-gum-a on Snake 



River, and Knife Lake have been the sites of Ojibway 
villages only within a few years past — within the recol- 
lection of Indians still living. 1 

Omig-aun-dib, the chief of Rice Lake, had half brothers 
among the Dakotas, who after the death of their common 
father became chiefs over their people ; through the 
influence of these closely related chieftains, peace was long 
kept up between their respective villages. Ill-will, how- 
ever, gradually crept in between them, as either party con- 
tinually lost relatives, in the implacable warfare which was 
now most continually carried on between other portions 
of their two tribes. At last they dared no longer to make 
peace visits to one another's villages, though they still did 
not join the war parties which marched into the region of 
country which they respectively occupied. 

As a proof of the tenacity with which they held on to 
one another even amidst the bloodshed which their respec- 
tive tribes continued to inflict on them, the following tale 
is related by the descendants of Omig-aun-dib. 

After the war between them had again fairly opened, a 
Dakota war party proceeded to Rice Lake and killed three 
children who were playing on the sandy shores of the lake, 
a short distance from the Ojibway village. One of these 
murdered children belonged to Omig-aun-dib, who was 
away on his day's hunt at the time they were fallen upon 
and dispatched. 

When, on his return, he had viewed the mangled remains 
of his child, he did not weep and ask his fellows to aid 
him in revenging the blow, but he silently buried his child, 
and embarking the next morning alone in his birch canoe, 
he proceeded down the river toward the Dakota country. 

1 The Snake River Ojibways in 1836 were divided into two bands, and num- 
bered about forty men. One band spent the summer at Lake Po-ka-gum-a ; 
the other, on a small lake twenty miles higher on the river. About this time 
some of the Ojibways of Yellow Lake, Wisconsin, joined them. — E. D. N. 


At Point Douglas he discovered the Dakotas collected 
together in a large camp; their war party had just arrived 
with the three children's scalps, and he heard as he neared 
their village, the drums heating, accompanied with the 
scalp songs of rejoicing, while young and old in the whole 
encampment were dancing and yelling in celebration of the 
exploit, and the discomfiture of their enemies. 

Ornig-aun-dih paddled his light canoe straight towards 
the centre of the long rows of lodges which lined the water- 
side : he had covered his face and hody with the hlack 
paint of mourning. The prow of his canoe lightly struck 
the beach, and the eyes of the rejoicing Dakotas became 
all bent on the stranger who so suddenly made his appear- 
ance at their water-side: some ran to see who it could be, 
and as he became recognized, his name passed like wildfire 
from lip to lip — the music and dancing suddenly ceased, 
and the former noisy and happy Dakotas spoke to one an- 
other in whispers. 

Omig-aun-dib sat quietly in the stern of his canoe smok- 
ing his pipe. Soon a long line of elderly men, the chiefs 
of the village, approached him ; he knew his half brothers, 
and as they recognized him and guessed the cause of the 
black paint on his body, they raised their voices and wept 
aloud. "No sooner was the example set, than the whole 
encampment was in tears, and loud was the lamentation 
which for a few moments- issued from lips which, but a 
moment before, had been rejoicing in the deed of blood. 

They took the canoe wherein the bereaved father was 
still sitting, and lifting it off the ground, they carried it 
on to the bank where stood their lodges. Buffalo robes, 
beautifully worked with quills and colored with bright 
paints, were then brought and spread on the ground from 
the canoe reaching even to the door of the council lodge, 
and the Ojibway chieftain was asked to walk thereon and 
enter the lodge. 



■ During the performance of these different acts he had 
kept his seat in the canoe calmly smoking his pipe ; he 
now arose, and stepped forth, hut as he approached the 
council lodge, he kicked the rohes to one side, saying, " I 
have not come amongst you, my relatives, to be treated 
with so much honor and deference. I have come that you 
may treat me as you have treated my child, that I may 
follow him to the land of spirits.'' 

These words only made the sorrow of the Dakotas still 
more poignant ; to think that they had killed the child of 
one who was their relative by blood, and who had never 
raised his arm against their tribe. 

Omig-aun-dib repeated his offer of self-sacrifice in public 
council, but it was of course refused, and with great diffi- 
culty he was at last induced to accept presents as a cover- 
ing for his child's grave, and a child was given to him to 
adopt instead of the one which had been killed. With 
this reparation he returned to his village 

The breach between the two tribes became widened by 
almost daily bloody encounters, and the relationship exist- 
ing; between them became at last to be almost forgotten, 
though to the present day the occasional short terms of 
peace which have occurred between the two tribes, have 
generally been first brought about by the mixed bloods of 
either tribe who could approach one another with greater 
confidence than those entirely unconnected by blood. 





The adaptation of this region of country as a home for the Indian— The Ojibways 
first find it in possession of the Dakotas — Bi-aus-wah, an Ojibway war 
chief, leads a large war party and dispossesses the Dakotas of Sandy Lake — 
Sandy Lake becomes the first Ojibway village on the Upper Mississippi — Re- 
marks on the earthen mounds which are scattered throughout this region of 
country — Gi-aueth-in-ne-wug, " men of the olden time," occupy the Upper 
Mississippi country prior to the Dakotas — Origin of the earthen mounds, as 
given by the Ojibways. 

The region of country from which the Mississippi derives 
its source, is covered with innumerable fresh and clear 
water lakes, connected with one another, and flowing into 
the " Father of Rivers" through rapid and meandering 
streams. All these lakes and streams abound with fish of 
the finest species and flavor. In Leech, TTinnepeg, Cass, 
and other of the larger lakes, the whitefish are found 
equal in size to the celebrated whitefish in Lake Superior. 
And so are also the salmon trout which (curious enough^ 
are to be found only in Puk-a-gum-ah and trout lakes. 
Mus-cal-longe have been found to grow to the great size of 
from four to six feet in length. Brook trout, sturgeon and 
catfish are not found in the waters of the Mississippi above 
the Falls of St. Anthony. 

The shores of these beautiful lakes are lined with groves 
of the tall pine, and the useful maple from which the 
Indian manufactures sugar. The birch tree also abounds, 
from which the Ojibway has long been accustomed to 
procure the covering to his wigwam, and material for the 
formation of his ingeniously wrought canoe. In many of 
these lakes which lie clustered together within an area of 
several hundred miles, the wild rice grows in large quan- 



tities and most luxuriantly, affording the Indian an impor- 
tant staple of subsistence. 

In former times this region of country abounded in buf- 
falo, moose, deer, and bear, and till within thirty years 
past, in every one of its many water courses, the lodges of 
the valuable and industrious beaver were to be found. 

Possessing these manifold advantages, this country has 
always been a favorite home and resort for the wild Indian, 
and over its whole extent, battle fields are pointed out 
where different tribes have battled for its possession. 

The attention of the Ojibwaj's was early directed to it. 
They found it in possession of the powerful and wide-spread 
Dakotas, whom after many years of severe fighting, they 
eventually forced to seek for new homes farther westward, 
and they in turn, took possession and have kept to this day 
the large and beautiful lakes which form the sources of the 
" Great River." 

It is related by their old traditionists, that the boy 
whose father had died in his stead on the burning fagots 
of the cruel O-dug-am-ees (as has been related in a former 
chapter), grew up to be a man. The remembrance of his 
deep wrong made him a warrior. He never let pass an 
opportunity of taking revenge and letting his prowess be 
known among the enemies of his tribe. To him, war not 
only became a chief business in life, but a pastime, and 
having adopted the name of his murdered father, Bi-aus- 
wah, eventually became a noted war-leader and chief, and 
the first Ojibway pioneer to the country of the Upper 

After the death of his father, he proceeded with his 
relatives to Fond du Lac, where he remained till middle 
age, and from which place he joined the war parties which 
marched against the Dakotas at Sandy Lake, on the St. 
Croix River and in the vicinity of Mille Lac. When he 
had earned in many a hard-fought battle, the admiration 


and confidence of his people, he sent his war-club, tobacco, 
and wampum belt of war, to the far-scattered bands of his 
tribe, inviting the warriors to collect at Fond du Lac by a 
certain day, and march with him, to put out the fire of the 
Dakotas at Sandy Lake. 

Men from all the villages of the Ojibway responded to 
his call, and canoes laden with warriors arrived on the 
appointed day from Sault Ste. Marie, Grand Portage, La 
Pointe, and all the camps of the tribe within the area of the 
Great Lake. It is said that the train of warriors which 
followed Bi-aus-wah on this occasion, was so long, as they 
marched in their usual single file, that a person standing 
on a hill could not see from one extremity to the other. 
They marched against the Dakotas of Sandy Lake. They 
found the enemy collected in force, notwithstanding which, 
they made the attack, and after a severe fight, they (being 
armed with the murderous weapons of the pale face), ulti- 
mately forced them to retreat and evacuate their village. 

Some years after, having struck repeated blows on this 
band of the Dakota tribe, Bi-aus-wah with many wigwams 
of his people, lit their fires and permanently located their 
village, first on the islands of the lake, but afterwards at 
the point which lies nearly opposite the mouth of East 
Savannah River. 

From this central location, they gradually increased their 
conquests in western, northern, and southern directions, 
and drawn by the richness of the hunting grounds in this 
region of country, many families from Lake Superior, of 
both the northern and southern divisions of the tribe, who 
had separated two centuries before at Sault Ste. Marie, 
moved over, and joined this band of hardy pioneers, increas- 
ing their strength and causing them to be better able to 
withstand the powerful Dakotas, and gradually to increase 
their new possessions. Sandy Lake or Kah-me-tah-wung- 
a-guma, signifying " lake of the sandy waters," is the site 



of the first jib way village about the head-waters of the 

It is from this point that the war parties proceeded, who 
eventually caused the Dakotas to evacuate their favorite 
seats at Leech, "Winnepeg, Cass, and Red Lakes, and also 
from Gull Lake, Crow Wing, and the vicinity of Mi lie 
Lacs, as will be hereafter related in the regular course of 
our narrative. 

It will not be amiss in this chapter to say a few words 
respecting the mounds which are everywhere to be met 
with throughout the entire region of country covered by 
sources of the Mississippi. 

Having read the conflicting opinions of men who have 
casually passed through the country, and seen these apparent 
remains of the works of a former race, my attention was 
early drawn to this subject, and my inquiries among the 
more aged and intelligent men of the Ojibways have been 
most minute, and to my mind, satisfactorily answered. 

Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, whom I have already mentioned as 
the truth-telling and respected chief of the Pillagers, still 
living, and now in his seventy-eighth year, informs me 
that in the course of his lifetime he has made numerous 
war parties and peace visits to different tribes who live 
on the banks of the Upper Missouri River. He states, 
that a tribe who are known to the Ojibways by the name 
of Gi-aucth-in-in-e-wug, signify u men of the olden time," 
and named by the French, Gros Ventres, claim to have 
been formerly possessors of the country from which the 
Mississippi takes its rise. Their old men relate they were 
forced or driven from this country by the powerful Dakotas, 
who have in turn given way to the Ojibways, now its pre- 
sent possessors. 

The Gros Ventres further stated to the Pillager chief, 
that their fathers lived in earthen wigwams, and the small 
remnant who have escaped the scourge of the scalping 


knife and smallpox, still live on the banks of the Missouri 
in these primitively constructed dwellings. This is an im- 
portant fact in the early Indian history of Minnesota, and 
the writer has taken every pains to procure every account 
and circumstance which might conduce to prove its truth. 

It will account at once for the numerous earthen mounds 
which are to be found at different points on the Upper 
Mississippi, as they may then be safely considered as the 
remains of the earthen lodges of these former occupants of 
this fair region. 

Till of late years the Kniste-no and Assineboins were 
accustomed to send their war parties against the Gros 
Ventres and Arickarees, and the Ojibways were often 
induced to join them. They forced them to evacuate their 
earthen villages which were located on the east banks 
of the Missouri, and to select new homes further west, 
placing thereby this great river between them and their 
more powerful enemies. 

But since the smallpox has swept them nearly all away, 
these allied tribes have taken pity on them, and they 
occasionally pay them peace visits, and even fight in their 
defence. In this manner a direct communication has arisen 
between the Ojibways and these remnants of far western 
tribes, which has been the means of saving from total ob- 
livion many of their ancient traditions, and amongst the 
number, the fact of their former occupation of the great 
basin from which the Mississippi derives its sources. 

Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, who has often visited them in his 
younger days, terms them " relatives ;" he describes their 
earthen wigwams, and say3 that they are more neat and 
cleanly than other Indians, from the fact of daily washing 
their bodies and using a certain kind of clay to whiten 
their skins. He says also, that formerly they used to raise 
small quantities of tobacco, the leaf of which, as obtained 
from them, was considered of great value, and for which 



their fellow Indians paid large prices. Peace parties of 
the Knistenos and Ojibways often proceeded hundreds of 
miles to visit their villages, chiefly for the purpose of pro- 
curing their much coveted tobacco leaf. 

Wa-won-je-quon, the chief of the Red Lake Ojibways, 
relates that several years since, while on a visit to the 
earthen wigwams .of the Gi-aucth-in-in-e-wug or Gros 
Ventres, he was informed by their old men, that the smoke 
of their village once arose in the vicinity of Sandy Lake. 
They showed him a piece of bark on which was very 
correctly marked the principal streams and lakes on the 
Upper Mississippi, and pointed him out, as the site of their 
former village, the entry of East Savannah River into the 
St. Louis, where the remains of their earthen lodges, now 
covered by a forest of trees, are still discernible. 

Groups of these mounds are to be seen on all the principal 
lakes in the Upper Mississippi country. At Pukwah 
Rice Lake, near Sandy Lake, is a group numbering seventy 
of these mounds, now covered by a thick grove of maple 
trees. At the mouth of Pine River, which empties into 
the Mississippi above Crow Wing, there is a group of 
nineteen, in which bones have been discovered by the 

At Gull Lake many of these mounds have also been 
seen by the writer. At one place there are two standing 
side by side, each over one hundred feet long and four feet 
high, and on the top of one stands a high pine tree which 
looks to be centuries old. 

The numerous mounds on the shore of Mille Lacs are 
accounted for in Ojibway tradition, as the remains of the 
former earthen lodges of the Dakotas, whom their ances- 
tors drove from this lake. 

The mounds which are thickly scattered throughout the 
St. Croix and Chippeway River region, are said by the 
Ojibways to be the remains of the former wigwams of their 
old enemies, the Odugamees. 


In the vicinity of some of these mounds on Grippe way 
River, the writer has distinguished gardens and fields 
regularly laid out, in which even the rows of corn hills 
were still plainly discernible, clearly proving that the 
mounds scattered over this portion of country are not of 
such ancient origin as some speculative writers would have 
us believe. 

The old men of the Ojibways affirm that nearly all the 
tribes of the red man who lived in an open prairie country, 
before the introduction of lire-arms among them, were 
accustomed to live in earthen wigwams as a protection 
and defence against the attacks of their enemies. 1 

Truly may it be said of all these Indians tribes, that their 
hand has been against every one, and every one's hand 
against them. They have lived in " fear and trembling" 
of one another, and oft has the sudden midnight attack 
extinguished for ever the fires of their wigwams. And for 
greater security against these sudden attacks, and continual 
state of warfare, first originated the earthen remains, over 
which now the white man's plow peacefully furrows. 

From human bones being occasionally discovered in 
these mounds, most writers have been led to suppose them 
as the graves or burial places of distinguished chiefs. 

The Indians account for them by saying that these former 

1 Alexander Henry, a partner of the Northwest Company of Montreal, in 
1806, visited the Gros Ventres at the junction of the Knife and Missouri Rivers. 
From a copy of his MS. Journal, owned by the writer of this note, the fol- 
lowing is extracted. "These people, like their neighbors [Mandans], have 
the custom of washing morning and evening, and wallowing in the mud and clay 
which here answers the purpose of soap The huts are con- 
structed as those of their neighbors, with this difference, the ground is dug out 
about four feet below the surface of the earth, which is much deeper than the 

others The inside of the huts are commonly kept clean, and 

day and night the 3'ouug men are watching and sleeping upon the roofs. The 
tops of their huts are particularly level, large, and spacious, about fifty feet in 
circumference, and so supported by firm, stout, and principal posts which sup- 
port the square pieces of timber, as to sustain the weight of fifty men.'' — 



earthen wigwams were seldom evacuated without a strus:- 
gle, which generally ended in the massacre of the inmates, 
and the bones now discovered buried within them are the 
remains of these former occupants. 

The few mounds in which have been discovered human 
bones regularly deposited, in a position facing the west, 
may probably be considered as burial mounds ; though this, 
too, may be accounted for, from the fact that of later years 
the Indians have occasionally buried their dead within 
these mounds, though this may not be considered as a 
prevalent custom, as they treat all remains of this nature 
with great respect, as objects consecrated to the memory of 
by-gone people and by -gone times. 

The Ojibways assert in behalf of their tribe, that they 
have never been forced to live in earthen wigwams as a 
defence against their enemies, and none of the mounds 
which are thickly scattered over the country which they 
at present occupy west of Lake Superior, originate from or 
are the work of their ancestors. The country in which 
they have lived for the past five centuries is covered with 
dense forests, and plentifully supplied with large lakes, on 
the bosom of which lay islands, where in times of danger 
they could always pitch their light wigwams in compara- 
tive safety. 




The Ojibways force the Dakotas from Cass and Winuepeg lakes — Dakotas con- 
centre their forces at Leech Lake — They make a last effort to beat back the 
Ojibways — Their great war party is divided into three divisions — One division 
proceeds against Rainy Lake — One against Sandy Lake — And one against 
Pembina — They are beaten back — Dakotas retire from Leech Lake — Ojib- 
ways take possession — Size and natural advantages of Leech Lake — Dangers 
of the first Ojibway pioneers on the Upper Mississippi — They hunt in a body 
under the guidance of their chief Bi-aus-wah — Fitful terms of peace with 
the Dakotas — Bi-aus-wah puts an end by treaty to the practice of torturing 
captives — The Ojibway hunters pay yearly visits to the French trading posts 
on Lake Superior — The more northern bands join the Kenistenos on their 
trading visits to the British towards Hudson Bay. 

The band or village of the Ojibways, who had dispos- 
sessed the Dakotas of Sandy Lake, under the guidance of 
their chief Bi-aus-wah, continued to receive accessions to 
their ranks from the shores of Lake Superior, and continued 
to gain ground on the Dakotas, till they forced them to 
evacuate their hunting grounds and village sites on Ca^s 
and Winnepeg lakes, and to concentre their forces on the 
islands of Leech Lake, of which, for a few years, they man- 
aged to keep possession. 

Being, however, severely harassed by the persevering 
encroachments of the Ojibways, and daily losing the lives 
of their hunters from their oft-repeated incursions, and war 
parties, the Dakotas at last came to the determination of 
making one concentrated tribal effort to check the farther 
advance of their invaders, and, if possible, put out forever 
the fires which the Ojibways had lit on the waters of the 
Upper Mississippi. They called on the different bands of 
their common tribe living toward the south and w r est, to 
aid them in their enterprise, and a numerous war party is 


said to have been collected at Leech Lake by the Dakotas 
to carry out the resolution which they had formed. 

Instead, however, of concentrating their forces and sweep- 
ing the Ojibway villages' in detail, they separated into 
three divisions, with the intention of striking three dif- 
ferent sections of the enemy on the same day. One party 
marched against the village at Sandy Lake, one against 
the Ojibways at Rainy Lake, and one proceeded northward 
against a small band of Ojibways who had already reached 
as far west as Pembina, and who, in connection with the 
Kenistenos and Assineboins, severely harassed the north- 
ern flank of the Leech Lake Dakotas. 

The party .proceeding against Rainy Lake, met a large 
war party of Ojibways from that already important and 
numerous section of the tribe, and a severe battle was 
fought between them. The Dakotas returned to Leech 
Lake disheartened from the effects of a severe check, and 
the loss of many of their bravest warriors. 

The second division, proceeding in their war canoes 
against the Sandy Lake village, met with precisely the 
same fate. They were paddling down the smooth current 
of the Mississippi, when one morning they met a canoe 
containing the advance scouts of a large Ojibway war party, 
who were on their route to attack their village at Leech 
Lake; these scouts were immediately attacked, and pur- 
sued by the Dakotas into a small lake, where the main 
body of the Ojibways coming up, both parties landed and 
fought for half a day on the shores of the lake. This 
battle is noted from the fact that a Dakota was killed here 
whose feet were both previously cut half off either by frost 
or some accident, and the lake where the fight took place 
is known to this day as " Keesh-ke-sid-a-boin Sah-ga-e-gun" 
" Lake of the cut-foot Dakota." The belligerent parties 
both retreated to their respective villages from this point, 


their bloody propensities being for the time fully cooled 

The third division of the Dakotas went northward in 
the direction of Red River, but not finding any traces of 
the Ojibways about Pembina, all returned home but ten, 
who resolutely proceeded into the Ivenisteno country, till 
discovering two isolated wigwams of Ojibway hunters, 
they attacked and destroyed their inmates with the loss of 
two of their number. This attack is noted from the cir- 
cumstance that one of the Dakota warriors who was killed, 
had been a captive among the Ojibways, and adopted as a 
son by the famous chief, Bi-aus-wah of Sandy Lake. He 
was recognized by having in his possession a certain relic 
of this chieftain, which he had promised to wet with the 
blood of an enemy, to appease the manes of a departed 
child in whose stead he had been adopted. 

During the same summer in which happened these 
memorable events in Ojibway history, the Dakotas having 
been thus severely checked and driven back by their 
invaders, became hopeless of future success and suddenly 
evacuated their important position at Leech Lake, and 
moved westward to the edge of the great western prairies, 
about the headwaters of the Minnesota and Red Rivers. 

A few hardy hunters, mostly of the Bear and Catfish 
clans, gradually took possession of their rich hunting 
grounds, and planting their lodges on the islands of Cass, 
Winnepeg, and Leech Lakes, they first formed a focus 
around which gathered families from Rainy Lake, Sandy 
Lake, and Lake Superior, which' now form the important 
villages or bands of the Ojibway tribe, who occupy these 
important lakes at the present day. 

According to Xicollet, "The circuit of Leech Lake, 
including its indentations, is not less than 160 miles. It 
is next in size to Red Lake, which is said to be two bun- 



dred miles in circumference. The former has twenty-seven 
tributaries of various sizes. A solitary river issues from 
it, known by the name of Leech Lake River, forming an 
important outlet, from one hundred to one hundred and 
twenty feet wide, with a depth of from six to ten feet. It 
has a moderate current and flows into the Mississippi, 
after a course of from forty-live to fifty miles.'' 

This quotation from a most reliable source, will give to 
the reader an idea of the size of Leech Lake, and its great 
importance to the Indian can be judged by its numerous 
natural resources. It abounds in wild rice in large quan- 
tities, of which the Indian women gather sufficient for the 
winter consumption of their families. The shores of the 
lake are covered with maple which yields to the industry 
of the hunter's women, each spring, quantities of sap which 
they manufacture into sugar. The waters of the lake 
abound in fish of the finest quality, its whitefish equalling 
in size and flavor those of Lake Superior, and are easily 
caught at all seasons of the year when the lake is free of 
ice, in gill-nets made and managed also by the women. 

At the time when the Ojibways first took possession of 
Leech Lake and the surrounding country, which is covered 
with innumerable lakes and water courses, beaver, and 
the most valuable species of fur animals abounded in great 
plenty, which procured them the much coveted merchan- 
dise of the white traders. The lake itself is said in those 
early days to have been, at certain seasons of the year, 
literally covered with wild fowl and swan; pelican and 
geese raised yearly their brood of young on its numerous 
islands. From this circumstance Goose and Pelican 
Islands have derived their names. The incentives, there- 
fore, which actuated the first Ojibway pioneers to fight so 
strenuously for its possession, were many and great, and 
soon caused the band who so fearlessly occupied it to be- 



come a numerous body, and to be the most noted western 
vanguard of the Ojibway tribe. 

At first, while they were yet feeble in numbers, they 
planted their lodges on the islands of the lake for greater 
security against the Dakotas, who for many years after 
their evacuation often sent their war parties to its shores 
to view the sites of their former villages, and the graves 
of their fathers, and, if possible, to shed the blood of those 
who had forced them from their once loved hunting 

Almost daily, the hardy bands of Ojibways who had now 
taken possession of the head lakes of the Mississippi, lost 
the lives of their hunters by the bands of the Dakotas, and 
they would soon have been annihilated, had not accessions 
from the eastern sections of their tribe continually added 
to their strength and numbers. In those days, the hunter 
moved through the dense forests in fear and trembling. 
He paddled his light canoe over the calm bosom of a lake 
or down the rapid current of a river, in search of game to 
clothe and feed his children, expecting each moment that 
from behind a tree, an embankment of sand along the lake 
shore, or a clump of bushes on the river bank, would speed 
the bullet or arrow which would lay him low in death. 
Often as the tired hunter has been calmly slumbering by 
the dying embers of his lodge fire, surrounded by the sleep- 
ing forms of his wife and helpless babes, has he been 
aroused by the sharp yell of his enemies as they rushed on 
his camp to extinguish his fire forever. On such occasions 
the-morning sun has shone on the mangled and scalped 
remains of the hunter and his family. 

These scenes, which my pen so poorly delineates, have 
been of almost daily occurrence till within a few years past, 
along the whole border which has been the arena of the 
bloody feud between the Dakotas and Ojibways. 



For greater security against the sudden attacks of their 
enemies, the Ojibways on the Upper Mississippi, under 
the guidance of their wise chieftain Bi-aus-wah, would 
collect each fall into one common encampment, and thus 
in a body they would proceed by slow stages where game 
was most plenty, to make their fall and winter hunts. 
While collected in force in this manner, the Dakotas seldom 
dared to attack them, and it often happened that when 
the great winter camps of either tribe came in contact, 
fearing the result of a general battle, they would listen to 
the advice of their wiser chiefs who deprecated the con- 
sequences of their cruel warfare, and enter into a short 
term of peace and good fellowship. On such happy 
occasions the singular spectacle could be seen, of mortal 
foes feasting, caressing one another, exchanging presents, 
and ransoming captives of war. 

The calms, however, of a feud of such intensity and long 
duration as existed between these two combative tribes, 
were of short and fitful duration, and generally lasted only 
as long as the two camps remained in one another's vicinity. 
The peace was considered holding only by such of either 
tribe as happened to be present at the first meeting, and 
smoked from the stem of the peace pipe. 

It is said, however, that the Ojibway chieftain Bi-aus-wah 
tried hard to bring about a lasting peace with the Dakotas 
after he had secured a firm footing for his people on the 
rich hunting grounds of the Upper Mississippi. And it is 
a noted fact that his humane efforts were so far successful 
as to put an end by distinct treaty,. to the custom of tortur- 
ing captives, which was still practised by the Dakotas. 
From the time that he effected this mutual understanding 
with his enemies, this bad practice ceased altogether, and 
the taking of captives became less frequent. 

For many years after Bi-aus-wah first took possession of 
Sandy Lake, which event may be dated as taking place 



about the year 1730, his village remained without a trader, 
and it was a practice with his bands, as had been before 
with the tribe when congregated at Shaug-a-waum-ik-ong, 
to make visits each spring to the nearest French posts on 
Lake Superior, Grand Portage, and Sault Ste. Marie, to 
procure in return for their rich packs of fur, clothing, 
trinkets, fire-arms, and ammunition, and above all, the 
baneful fire-water which they had already learned to love 

The band who lived at Rainy Lake, and those who had 
already pierced as far north as Pembina and Red Lake, 
often joined the Kenisteno and Assineboins on their yearly 
journeys towards Hudson's Bay for the same purpose ; the 
English in this direction having early opened the trade, 
and actively opposed the French who came by the routes 
of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. 





The Ojibways of La Pointe send hunting parties into the midland country lying; 
between the Mississippi and Lake Superior — First permanent residents at 
Lac Coutereille — Cause of the " three brothers" braving the attacks of their 
enemies — Lac Coutereille becomes an important Ojibway village — Families 
branch off who take possession of Lac Shatac, Red Cedar, and Long Lakes, 
and Puk-wa-wanuh on Chippeway River — The Ojibway pioneers to the head- 
waters of the Wisconsin — They form their village at Lac du Flambeau — 
Branches of this baud occupy the Wisconsin River and Pelican Lakes — 
Present descendants of the Lac Coutereille pioneers — Origin of the name 
Lac Coutereille. 

That portion ot the present State of Wisconsin, com- 
prising the valleys of the Chippeway and Wisconsin rivers, 
and the country watered by their numerous tributaries, 
have been occupied by a large section of the Ojibway tribe, 
for the past century. The beautiful inland lakes from 
which they head, have been for this length of time the 
sites of their villages. 

After the Ojibways had driven the Odugamees from this 
section of country, also from the St. Croix rice lakes and 
the headwaters of the On-ton-a-gun, incited by the fur 
trade which had actively commenced at this period, large 
camps of Ojibway hunters began to explore and take 
possession of the rich hunting grounds which were com- 
prised in the midland country lying between Lake Superior 
and the Mississippi. For a number of years, however, 
these hunters made no permanent stay on any spot through- 
out this country, because danger lurked behind every bush 
and every tree from the prowling war parties of the 
Dakotas and Odugamees. Having made their winter hunts, 
in the course of which they even reached as far as Lac du 


Flambeau and Lac Coutereille, the hunting camps would 
invariably return each spring to La Pointe (Shaug-a-waum- 
ik-ong), to join their people in the periodical performance of 
the sacred rites of the Grand Medawe, and to make their 
summer visits to the nearest French trading posts to barter 
away their peltries. 

Three generations ago, or about the year 1745, the first 
Ojibway pioneer hunters, braving the attacks of their ene- 
mies, first permanently planted their wigwams on the 
shores of Lake Coutereille, and formed a focus around 
which families of their tribe have gathered and generated 
till, at this day, those who claim this as their central vil- 
lage, number full one thousand souls. 

The founders of this village consisted of three brothers 
belonging to the daring and fearless Bear Clan. On the 
shores of Lac Coutereille (Ottaway Lake), during the 
of a winter hunt, they lost one of their children, and as 
they returned dust to dust, in the silent grave, they buried 
the seed which caused them, as it were, to grow emplanted 
on the soil, like a tree, to shade it from the rude gaze of 
strangers, and watch it against the ravenous visits of wild 

There was a charm about that silent little grave, which 
caused the mourning parents to brave all dangers, and 
isolated from their fellows, they passed the spring and 
summer in its vicinity, and eventually made the spot 
where it stood the site of a permanent village. Their 
numbers increased every year, till at last, being followed 
by their traders, who made Lac Coutereille their inland 
depot, parties of hunters branched off, and pressing back 
the Dakotas, they took possession and finally formed new 
villages at Lac Shatac, Red Cedar and Long Lakes, and 
at Puk-wa-wanuh on the Chippeway River. 

About the time the Odugamees were eventually driven 
from the Wisconsin River and forced westward to the Mis- 


sissippi, the Ojibways took possession of the head-waters 
of this river. The pioneer chieftain of this extensive dis- 
trict of country, was named Sha-da-wish, a son of the great 
chief of the Crane family, who received a gold medal dur- 
ing the French convocation at Sault Ste. Marie in 1(571. 
From this scion of the family, have directly descended the 
noted Keesh-ke-mun, Waub-ish-gaug-aug-e (White Crow), 
and the present ruling chief of this section of the tribe, 
Ah-mous (Little Bee). From a second son of the same 
ancient chieftain, named A-ke-gui-ow, are descended the 
branch of the Crane family residing at La Pointe, of whom 
the late deceased Tug-waug-aun-e was head and chief dur- 
ing his lifetime. 

The French early designated that portion of the tribe 
who occupied the head-waters of the Wisconsin, as the 
Lac du Flambeau band, from the circumstance of their 
locating their central village or summer residence, at the 
lake known by this name. The Ojibways term it Waus- 
wag-im-ing (Lake of Torches), from the custom of spearing 
fish by torch-light, early practised by the hunters of their 
tribe who first took possession of it. 

Before eventually permanently locating their village at 
this lake, the Ojibways, under their leader, Sha-da-wish, 
made protracted stands at Trout Lake and Turtle Portage, 
and it was not till the times of his successor and son, 
Keesh-ke-mun, that this band proceeded as far west as Lac 
du Flambeau, for a permanent residence. From this im- 
portant point there has branched off families who now 
occupy the country on the Wisconsin River as lar 'down as 
the Yellow banks, near the mouth of Fox River, and fami- 
lies who occupy the Pelican Lakes in the direction of 
Lake Michigan. 

Within the past century there has spread over this 
region of country, including the Chippeway River and 
St. Croix district, from natural increase and accessions 


from Lake Superior, bauds who now number about three 
thousand souls. 

They have encountered inveterate enemies at every step 
of their advance, and the spots are countless, where they 
have battled in mortal strife with Dakotas, Odugamees, and 
Winnebagos. The dangers and vicissitudes of the first 
pioneers into this section of country were equal to, and of 
the same character, as beset the onward course of the hardy 
hunters of the Upper Mississippi. 

From the time that the Lac Coutereille and Lac du- 
Flambeau villages became of sufficient importance, as to 
assume the privilege of performing the rites of the Me- 
da-we-win within their own precincts, they were considered 
actually separated from the common central body and Me- 
da-we lodge, which had for so many years flourished and 
concentrated at La Pointe, of Lake Superior, and they 
became from that time distinct " branches of the same 
parent tree." 

Ka-ka-ke (Hawk), the present war-chief of the Chippe- 
way River district, is the direct descendant in the third 
generation of the hunter who lost his child on Lac Cou- 
tereille, and became the founder of the Ojibway village 
located on this lake. 

Lac Coutereille is named by the Ojibways " Odah-wah- 
sah-ga-e-gun (Ottaway Lake), from the circumstance that 
some time over four generations ago, a party of Ojibway 
hunters discovered on its shores the frozen body of an 
Ottah-wah, which tribe at this time extended their hunt- 
ing parties even to this remote point. 






The Ojibways aid the French in the war against the- British — Mamong-e-sada 
leads a party of their warriors from La Pointe, who light under Monicaim at 
the taking of Quebec — Origin of the Ojibway name for the English — They 
view with regret the evacuation of their country by the French — Those who 
remain amongst them through the ties of marriage, wield an important in- 
fluence over their conduct — They stand neutral during the strenuous efforts 
made by the Algic tribes in opposition to the English — Nature of the hos- 
tility eviuced by the Ojibways against the British — Speech of Meh-neh-weh- 
na to Alexander Henry — Eastern section of the tribe join " Pontiac's war" — 
Capture of the fort at Michilimackinac intrusted into their hands — Shrewd- 
ness and foresight of the Ojibway chieftain — British commandant refuses to 
listen to hints of danger — Game of Bauirudoway — Manner in which the fort 
was taken — Testimony of Alexander Henry — His capture and ransom — 
Troops massacred. 

We have now brought forward the history of the 
different sections of the Ojibway tribe, to the time when 
the French nation were forced to strike their colors and 
cede their possessions in America (comprising the great 
chain of lakes), into the hands of the British Empire. 

The time during which these two powerful nations bat- 
tled for the supremacy on the American continent, is an 
important era in the history of the Algic tribes who occu- 
pied a great portion of Canada, and the areas of the great 
western lakes. 

Induced by their predilection to the French people, the 
causes of which we have given in a previous chapter, the 
eastern section of the Ojibway tribe residing at Sault Ste. 
Marie, Mackinaw, and the shores of Lake Huron, joined 
their warriors with the army of the French, and freely 
rallied to their support at Detroit, Fort Du Quesne, 
Niagara, Montreal, and Quebec. The Ojibways figured in 


almost every battle which was fought during these bloody- 
wars, on the side of the French, against the English. A 
party of the tribe from their central village of La Pointe 
on Lake Superior, even proceeded nigh two thousand miles 
to Quebec, under their celebrated war chief Ma-mong-e- 
sc-da, and fought in the ranks of Montcalm on the plains 
of Abraham, when this ill-fated general and the heroic 
Wolfe received their death wounds. According to the late 
noted British interpreter John Baptiste Cadotte, the name 
by which the Ojibways now know the British, Shaug-un- 
aush, was derived from the circumstance of their sudden 
and almost unaccountable appearance, on that memorable 
morning on the heights of Abraham. It is a little changed 
from the original word Sau<2;-aush-e which signifies "to 

o o o 

appear from the clouds." 

With the deepest regret and sorrow, the Ojibways in 
common with other Algic tribes, at last viewed the final 
delivery of the Xorth western French forts into the hands 
of the conquering British. With aching hearts they bade 
a last farewell to the kind hearted French local com- 
manders, whom they had learned to term " Father," and 
the jovial hearted ' Coureur du Bois" and open-handed 
" Marchand voyageur," many of whom took their final de- 
parture from the Indian country on its cession to Great 
Britain. The bonds, however, which had been so long 
riveting between the French and Ojibways were not so 
easily to be broken. 

The main body of the French traders and common 
voyageurs who had so long remained amongst them, had 
many of them become united to the Indian race by the ties 
ol marriage; they possessed large families of half-blood 
children whom the Indians cherished as their own, and in 
ntany instances actually opposed their being taken from 
their midst. These Frenchmen, as a body, possessed an 
unbounded influence over the tribes amongst whom they 


resided, and though they did not openly aid and advise 
them in the strenuous efforts which they continued to 
make even after the French as a nation had retired from 
the field, to prevent the occupation of their country by the 
British, yet their silence and apparent acquiescence con- 
duced greatly to their noble and protracted efforts headed 
by the great Algic leader Pontiac. 

The fact of their love and adherence to the French people 
cannot be gainsaid, and to more tully illustrate this 
feeling, as it actuated their conduct even after the great 
French nation had delivered them over to the dominion of 
the British, I will refer to the respected authority of 
Alexander Henry, the first British trader whom the Ojib- 
ways tell of having resided with them after the termination 
of the disastrous war which we are about to notice. 

In 1760, the French forts on the northern lakes were 
given up to the British, and for the time being the northern 
tribes of Indians apparently acquiesced in the peace which 
their Great Father, the French King, had made with 
Great Britain. In the spring of the following year, Mr. 
Henry, the well-known author of " Travels and Adventures 
in Canada and the Indian Territories, between the vears 
1760 and 1766," tells of making a trading voyage from 
Montreal to Michilimackinac. He came across a larsce 
village of jib way Indians on the small island of La 
Cloche in Lake Huron who treated him in the kindest and 
most friendly manner, till, " discovering that he was an Eng- 
lishman" they told his men that the Michilimackinac 
Indians would certainly kill him, and that they might as . 
well anticipate their share of the pillage. They accordingly 
demanded -a part of his goods, which he prudently gave 
them. He observed afterwards that from the repeated 
warnings w r hich he daily received, his mind became " op- 
pressed and much troubled," and learning that the 



"hostility of the Indians was exclusively against the 
English," tins circumstance suggested to him a prospect of 
security in securing a Canadian disguise, which eventually 
enabled him to complete his journey. 

He arrived at Mich ili mackinac, where he found his diffi- 
culties to increase, and where he fully learned the nature of 
the feelings which actuated the minds of the Ojibways 
against the occupation of their country by the English, 
nor were his apprehensions allayed, till he received a 
formal visit from the war chief of the eastern section of 
the tribe, who resided at Michilimackinac. Mr. Henry 
describes this man as a person of remarkable appearance, 
of commanding stature, and with a singularly fine counte- 

He entered the room where the traveller was anxiously 
awaiting the result of his visit, followed by sixty warriors 
dressed and decorated in the most formal and imposing 
fashion of war. Xot a word was spoken as they came in 
one by one, seated themselves on the floor at a signal 
from the chief, and began composedly to fill and smoke 
their pipes. The Ojibway chieftain meanwhile looking 
steadfastly at the trader, made various inquiries of his 
head boatman, a Canadian. He then coolly observed that 
u the English were brave men and not afraid of death, since 
they dared to come thus fearlessly among their enemies.'' 

When the Indians had finished smoking their pipes, the 
chief took a few wampum strings in his hand and com- 
menced the following: harangue: — 

" Englishman ! It is to you that I speak, and I demand 
your attention I 

" Englishman ! You know that the French king is our 
father. He promised to be such ; and we, in return, 
promised to be his children. This promise we have kept. 

" Englishman I It is you that have made war with this 



our father. You are his enemy ; and how then could you 
have the boldness to venture among us, his children ? You 
know that his enemies are ours. 

" Englishman ! We are informed that our father, the 
king of France, is old and infirm ; and that being fatigued 
with making war upon your nation, he is fallen asleep. 

" During his sleep, you have taken advantage of him and 
possessed yourselves of Canada. But his nap is almost at 
an end. I think I hear him already stirring and inquiring 
for his children, the Indians: — and when he does awake, 
what must become of you? He will destroy you utterly. 

" Englishman ! Although you have conquered the French 
you have not yet conquered us ! AVe are not your slaves. 
These lakes and these woods and mountains were left to us 
by our ancestors. They are our inheritance, and we will 
part with them to none. Your nation supposes that we, 
like the white people, cannot live without bread and pork 
and beef. But you ought to know that he — the Great 
Spirit and master of life — has provided food for us in these 
broad lakes and upon these mountains. 

" Englishman ! Our father, the king of France, employed 
our young men to make war on your nation. 

" In this warfare, many of them have been killed, and it 
is our custom to retaliate, until such time as the spirits of 
the slain are satisfied. jSTow the spirits of the slain are to 
be satisfied in either of two ways. The first is by spilling 
the blood of the nation by whom they fell ; the other, by 
covering the bodies of the dead, and thus allaying the resent- 
ment of their relatives. This is done by making presents. 

" Englishman ! Your king has never sent us any presents, 
nor entered into any treaty with us, wherefore he and we 
are still at war ; and until he does these things, we must 
consider that we have no other father or friend anions: the 
white men than the king of France. But for you, we have 
taken into consideration that you have ventured your life 


among us, in expectation that we should not molest you ; 
you do not come armed with an intention to make war. 
You come in peace, to trade with us and supply us with 
necessaries of which we are much in want. We shall 
regard you therefore as a brother, and you may sleep 
tranquilly without fear of the Chippeways. Asa token of 
our friendship, we present you with this pipe to smoke." 

Mih-neh-weh-na, the name of the chieftain who delivered 
this noble speech, now gave his hand to the Englishman. 
His sixty warriors followed his example. The pipe, emblem 
of peace, went round in due order, and after being politely 
entertained by the anxious trader, from whose heart they 
had taken a heavy load, they all quietly took their leave. 

So many more able writers than myself have given accu- 
rate accounts of the memorable events which occurred dur- 
ing this imporant era in American history, that I desist 
from entering into details of any occurrence, except in 
which the Ojibways were actually concerned. 

For upwards of four years after the French had ceded 
the country to the British, the allied Algic tribes, after a 
short lull of quiet and comparative peace, under the mas- 
terly guidance of Pontiac, maintained the war against 
what they considered as the usurpation, by the British, of 
the hunting grounds which the Great Spirit had given 
their ancestors. 

Such was the force and accuracy of the organization 
which this celebrated leader had effected among the north- 
ern tribes of his fellow red men, that, on the same day, 
which was the 4th of June, 1763, and the anniversary of 
the king's birth (which the Indians knew was a day set 
apart by the English as one of amusement and celebration), 
they attacked and besieged twelve of the wide-spread 
western stockaded forts, and succeeded in taking possession 
°f nine. In this alliance, the Ojibways of Lake Huron 
and Michigan were most active parties, and into their 



hands was entrusted by their common leader, the capture 
of the British fort at Mackinaw. " That fort," according 
to the description of an eminent writer, " standing on the 
south side of the strait between lakes Huron and Michigan, 
was one of the most important positions on the frontiers. 
It was the place of deposit, and point of departure between 
the upper and lower countries ; the traders always assem- 
bled there, on their voyages to and from Montreal. Con- 
nected with it, was an area of two acres, inclosed with 
cedar wood pickets, and extending on one side so near to 
the water's edge, that a western wind always drew the 
waves against the foot of the stockade. There were about 
thirty houses within the limits, inhabited by about the 
same number of families. The only ordinance on the bas- 
tions were two small brass pieces. The garrison numbered 
between ninety and one hundred." 

The important enterprise of the capture of this impor- 
tant and indispensable post, was entrusted into the hands 
of Mih-neh-weh-na, the great war chieftain of the Ojibways 
of Mackinaw, whom we have already mentioned, and by 
the manner in which he superintended and managed the 
affair, to a complete and successful issue, he approved him- 
self a worthy lieutenant of the great head and leader of 
the war, the Ottawa chieftain Pontiac. 

The Ottawas of Lake Michigan being more friendly 
disposed to the British, were not called on by the politic 
Ojibway chieftain for help in this enterprise, and a know- 
ledge of the secret plan of attack was carefully kept from 
them, for fear that they would inform their English friends, 
and place them on their guard. In fact, every person of 
his own tribe whom he suspected of secret good-will to- 
wards any of the new British traders, Min-neh-weh-na 
sent away from the scene of the intended attack, with the 
admonition that death would be their sure fate, should the 



Saugunash be informed of the plan which had been formed 
to take possession of the fort. 

In this manner did he guard with equal foresight and 
greater success than Pontiac himself, against a premature 
development of their plans. Had not the loving Indian 
girl informed the young officer at Fort Detroit of Pontiac's 
secret plan, that important post, and its inmates, would 
have shared the same fate as befell the fort at Mackinaw. 

Of all the northern tribes who occupied the great lakes, 
the Ojibways allowed only the Osaugees to participate 
with them in their secret councils, in which was developed 
the plan of taking the fort, and these two tribes only were 
actively engaged in this enterprise. 

The fighting men of the Ojibways and Osaugees gradu- 
ally collected in the vicinity of the fort as the day appointed 
for the attack approached. They numbered between four 
and six hundred. An active trade was in the mean time 
carried on with the British traders, and every means re- 
sorted to for the purpose of totally blinding the suspicions 
which the more humane class of the French population 
found means to impart to the officers of the fort, respecting 
the secret animosity of the Indians. These hints were en- 
tirely disregarded by Major Etherington, the commandant 
of the fort, and he even threatened to confine any person 
who would have the future audacity to whisper these tales 
of danger into his ears. Everything, therefore, favored 
the scheme which the Ojibway chieftain had laid to ensnare 
his confident enemies. On the eve of the great English 
king's birthday, he informed the British commandant tliat 
as the morrow was to be a day of rejoicing, his young men 
would play the game of ball, or Baug-ah-ud-o-way, for the 
amusement of the whites, in front of the gate of the fort. 
In this game the young men of the Osaugee tribe would 
play against the Ojibways for a large stake. The com- 



mandant expressed his pleasure and willingness to the 
crafty chieftain's proposal, little dreaming that this was to 
lead to a game of blood, in which those under his charge 
were to be the victims. 

During the whole night the Ojibways were silently busy 
in making preparations for the morrow's work. They 
sharpened their knives and tomahawks, and filed short off 
their guns. In the morning these weapons were entrusted 
to the care of their women, who, hiding them under the 
folds of their blankets, were ordered to stand as near as 
possible to the gate of the fort, as if to witness the game 
which the men were about to play. Over a hundred on 
each side of the Ojibways and Osaugees, all chosen men, 
now sallied forth from their wigwams, painted and orna- 
mented for the occasion, and proceeding to the open green 
which lay in front of the fort, they made up the stakes for 
which they were apparently about to play, and planted the 
posts towards which each party was to strive to take the 

This game of Baug-ah-ud-o-way is played with a bat 
and wooden ball. The bat is about four feet long, ter- 
minating at one end into a circular curve, which is netted 
with leather strings, and forms a cavity where the ball is 
caught, carried, and if necessary thrown with great force, 
to treble the distance that it can be thrown by hand. Two 
posts are planted at the distance of about half a mile. 
Each party has its particular post, and the game consists 
in carrying or throwing the ball in the bat to the post of 
the adversary. At the commencement of the game, the 
two parties collect midway between the two posts ; the ball 
is thrown up into the air, and the competition for its posses- 
sion commences in earnest. It is the wildest game extant 
among the Indians, and is generally played in full feathers 
and ornaments, and with the greatest excitement and 
vehemence. The great object is to obtain possession of the 



ball ; and, during the heat of the excitement, no obstacle 
is allowed to stand in the way of getting at it. Let it fall 
far out into the deep water, numbers rush madly in and 
swim for it, each party impeding the efforts of the other 
in every manner possible. Let it fall into a high inclosure, 
it is surmounted, or torn down in a moment, and the ball 
recovered ; and were it to fall into the chimney of a house, 
a jump through the window, or a smash of the door, would 
be considered of no moment ; and the most violent hurts 
and bruises are incident to the headlong, mad manner in 
which it is played. It will be seen by this hurried descrip- 
tion, that the game was very well adapted to carry out the 
scheme of the Indians. 

On the morning of the 4th of June, after the cannon of 
the fort had been discharged in commemoration of the 
king's natal day, the ominous ball was thrown up a short 
distance in front of the gate of Fort Mackinaw, and the 
exciting game commenced. The two hundred players, 
their painted persons streaming with feathers, ribbons, fox 
and wolf tails, swayed to and fro as the ball was carried 
backwards and forwards by either party, who for the 
moment had possession of it. Occasionally a swift and 
agile runner would catch it in his bat, and making tremen- 
dous leaps hither and thither to avoid the attempts of his 
opponents to knock it out of his bat, or force him to throw 
it, he would make a sudden dodge past them, and choos- 
ing a clear track, run swiftly, urged on by the deafening 
shouts of his party and the by-standers, towards the stake 
of his adversaries, till his onward course was stopped by a 
swifter runner, or an advanced guard of the opposite party. 

The game, played as it was, by the young men of two 
different tribes, became exciting, and the commandant of 
the fort even took his stand outside of his open gates, to 
view its progress. His soldiers stood carelessly unarmed, 
here and there, intermingling with the Indian women, who 



gradually huddled near the gateway, carrying under their 
blankets the weapons which were to be used in the approach- 
ing work of death. 

In the struggle for its possession, the ball at last was 
gradually carried towards the open gates, and all at once, 
after having reached a proper distance, an athletic arm 
caught it up in his bat, and as if by accident threw it 
within the precincts of the fort. With one deafening yell 
* and impulse, the players rushed forward in a body, as if to 
regain it, but as they reached their women and entered the 
gateway, they threw down their wooden bats and grasping 
the shortened guns, tomahawks, and knives, the massacre 
commenced, and the bodies of the unsuspecting British 
soldiers soon lay strewn about, lifeless, horribly mangled, 
and scalpless. The careless commander was taken captive 
without a struggle, as he stood outside the fort, viewing 
the game, which the Ojibway chieftain had got up for his 

The above is the account, much briefened, which I have, 
learned verbally from the old French traders and half-breeds, 
who learned it from the lips of those who were present and 
witnessed the bloody transaction. £sot a hair on the head 
of the many Frenchmen who witnessed this scene was 
hurt by the infuriated savages, and there stands not on 
record a stronger proof of the love borne them by the tribe 
engaged in this business than this very fact, for the 
passions of an Indian warrior, once aroused by a scene of 
this nature, are not easily appeased, and generally every- 
thing kindred in any manner to his foe, falls a victim to 
satiate his blood-thirsty propensities. 

Alexander Henry, one of the few British traders who 
survived this massacre, gives the most authentic record 
of this event that has been published, and to his truthful 
narrative I am indebted for much corroborating testimony, 
to the more disconnected accounts of the Indians and old 



traders. A few quotations from his journal will illustrate 
the affair more fully, and I have no doubt will be accept- 
able to the reader, as being better told than I can tell it. 

After disregarding the friendly cautionary hints of 
"Wa-wat-am, an Ojibway Indian who had adopted him as a 
brother, but who dared not altogether disclose the plan of 
attack formed by his people, Mr. Henry resumes his nar- 
rative as follows : — 

" The morning was sultry. A Chippeway came to tell 
me that hi3 nation was going to play at Baggatiway with 
the Sacs or Saukies, another Indian nation, for a high 
wager. He invited me to witness the sport, adding that 
the commandant was to be there, and would bet on the 
side of the Chippeways. In consequence of this infor- 
mation, I went to the commandant and expostulated with 
him a little, representing that the Indians might possibly 
have some sinister end in view, but the commandant only 
smiled at my suspicions 

"I did not go myself to see the match, which was now 
to be played without the fort, because, there being a canoe 
prepared to depart on the following day to Montreal, I 
employed myself in writing letters to my friends ; and even 
when a fellow trader, Mr. Tracy, happened to call on me, 
saying that another canoe had just arrived from Detroit, 
and proposing that I should go with him to the beach to 
inquire the news, it so happened that I still remained to 
finish my letters, promising to follow Mr. Tracy in the 
course of a few minutes. Mr. Tracy had not gone more 
than twenty paces from the door, when I heard an Indian 
war-cry and a noise of general confusion. Going instantly 
to my window, I saw a crowd of Indians within the fort, 
furiously cutting down and scalping every Englishman they 
found. In particular, I witnessed the fate of Lieut. Jenette. 

I had, in the room in which I was, a fowling piece, 
loaded with swan shot. This I immediately seized, and 



held it for a few minutes, waiting to hear the drum heat 
to arms. In this dreadful interval, I saw several of my 
countrymen fall, and more than one struggling between 
the knees of an Indian, who, holding him in this manner, 
scalped him while yet living ! At length, disappointed in 
the hope of seeing resistance made to the enemy, and 
sensible of course that no effort of my own unassisted arm 
could avail against four hundred Indians, I thought only 
of seeking shelter. Amid the slaughter which was raging, 
I observed many of the Canadian inhabitants of the fort 
calmly looking on, neither opposing the Indians nor suffer- 
ing injury. From this circumstance I conceived a hope of 
finding security in their houses. " 

After describing the many hair-breadth escapes which 
befell him at the hands of the savages, Mr. Henry was 
eventually saved by A\ r a-wat-am, or Wow-yat-ton (Whirl- 
ing Eddy), his adopted Ojibway brother, in the following 
characteristic manner, which we will introduce in his own 
words, as an apt illustration of Indian custom : — 

" Toward noon (7th June), when the great war chief, in 
company with \Ven-ni-way, was seated at the opposite end 
of the lodge, my friend and brother Wa-wa-tam, suddenly 
came in. During the four days preceding, I had often 
wondered what had become of him. In passing by, he gave 
me his hand, but went immediately toward the great chief, 
by the side of whom, and Wcn-ni-way, he sat himself down. 
The most uninterrupted silence prevailed. Each smoked 
his pipe, and this done, Wa-wa-tam arose and left the lodge, 
saying to me, as he passed, ' Take courage. 7 

" An hour elapsed, during which several chiefs entered, 
and preparations appeared to be making for a council. 
At length Wa-wa-tam re-entered the lodge, followed by 
his wife, and both loaded with merchandise, which 
they carried up to the chiefs, and laid in a heap before 
them. Some moments of silence followed, at the end of 



which, "Wa-wa-tam pronounced a speech, every word of 
which, to me, was of extraordinary interest: — 

"'Friends and relations,' he hegan, 'what is it that I shall 
say ? You know what I feel. You all have friends and 
"brothers and children, whom as yourselves you love, and 
you, what would you experience, did you, like me, behold 
your dearest friend, your brother, in the condition of a 
slave — a slave exposed every moment to insult, and to the 
menaces of death ! This case, as you all know, is mine. 
See there,' pointing to myself, 4 my friend and brother 
among slaves, himself a slave 1 

" 4 You all well know, long before the war began, I adopted 
him as my brother. From this moment he became one of 
my family, so that no change of circumstances could break 
the cord which fastened us together. He is my brother — 
and because I am your relation, he is therefore your relation 
too; and how, being your relation, can he be your slave? 

" 4 On the day on which the war began, you were fearful, 
lest, on this very account, I should reveal your secret. You 
requested, therefore, that I should leave the fort, and even 
cross the lake. I did so, but did it with reluctance. I did 
it with reluctanee, notwithstanding that you, Mih-neh-weh- 
na, who had the command in this enterprise, gave me your 
promise that you would protect my friend, delivering him 
from all danger, and giving him safely to me. 

" 4 The performance of this promise I now claim. I come 
not with empty hands to ask. You, Mih-neh-weh-na, best 
know whether or not, as it respects yourself, you have 
kept your word. But I bring these goods, to buy off every 
claim, which any man among you all may have on my 
brother, as his prisoner.' 

" Wa-wa-tam having ceased, the pipes were again filled, 
and after they were finished, a further period of silence 
followed. At the end of this, Mih-neh-weh-na arose and 
gave his reply : — 



" 4 My relation and brother,' said he, 4 what you have 
spoken is the truth. We were acquainted with the friend- 
ship which subsisted between yourself and the Englishman, 
in whose behalf you have now addressed us. We knew 
the danger of having our secret discovered, and the con- 
sequences which must follow. You say truly that we re- 
quested you to leave the fort. This we did in regard for 
you and your family ; for if a discovery of our design had 
been made, you would have been blamed, whether guilty 
or not, and you would thus have been involved in difficul- 
ties, from which you could not have extricated yourself. 
It is also true that I promised you to take care of your 
Yriend ; and this promise I performed by desiring my son, 
at the moment of assault, to seek him out, and bring him 
to my lodge. He went accordingly, but could not find 
him. The day after I sent him to Langlade's (a French 
trader), when he was informed that your friend was safe ; 
and had it not been that the Indians were then drinking 
the rum which had been found in the fort, he would have 
brought him home with him, according to my orders. I 
am very glad to find that your friend has escaped. We 
accept your present : and you may take him home with 

"Wa-wa-tam thanked the assembled chiefs, and taking 
me by the hand, led me to his lodge, which was at the dis- 
tance of a few yards only from the prison lodge. My en- 
trance appeared to give joy to the whole family. Food 
was immediately prepared for me, and I now ate the first 
hearty meal which I had made since my capture. I found 
myself one of the family, and but that I had still my fears 
as to the other Indians, I felt as happy as the situation 
could allow." 

Mr. Henry says further : " Of the English traders that 
fell into the hands of the Indians at the capture of the fort, 
Mr. Tracy was the only one who lost his life. Mr. Ezekiel 


Solomons, and Mr. Henry Bostwick, were taken by the 
Ottawas, and, after the peace, carried down to Montreal, 
and there ransomed. Of ninety troops, about seventy were 
killed ; the rest, together with those of the posts in the 
Bay des Puants (Green Bay) and at the river St. Joseph, 
were also kept in safety by the Ottawas till the peace, and 
then either freely restored, or ransomed at Montreal. The 
Ottawas never overcame their disgust at the neglect with 
which they had been treated in the beginning of the war, 
by those who afterwards desired their assistance as allies.'' 
That portion of the Ojibways, forming by far the main 
body of the tribe who occupied the area of Lake Superior, 
and those bands who had already formed villages on the 
Upper Mississippi, and on the sources of its principal 
northeastern tributaries, were not engaged in the bloody 
transactions which we have described or at most, but a 
very few of their old warriors, who have now all paid the 
last debt of nature, were noted as having been present on 
the occasion of this most important event in Ojibway his- 






The Ojibways of Lake Superior do not join the alliance of Pontiac against the 
British — They are kept in the paths of peace through the influence of a French 
trader at Sault Ste. Marie — John Baptiste Cadotte — His first introduction 
into the Ojibway country — He marries a woman of the tribe, and settles at 
Sault Ste. Marie— His influence — Character of his Indian wife — Testimony 
of Alex. Henry — Henry proceeds to the Sault in Madame Cadotte's canoe — 
Kind reception by Mons. Cadotte — A party of Indians seek his life — He is 
preserved through Cadotte's influence — Sir Wm. Johnson sends a message 
to the Ste. Marie's Ojibways — They send twenty deputies to the Grand Council 
at Niagara — Return of peace — Ma-mong-e-se-da is sent from Shaug-a-waum- 
ik-ong to Sir William Johnson to demand a trader — Brief sketch of this chief- 
tain's life — Henry and Cadotte enter into the fur trade — They work the copper 
mines — Grant of land at Sault Ste. Marie to Mons. Cadotte. 

That portion of the Ojibways, forming by far the main 
body of the tribe, who occupied the area of Lake Superior, 
and those bands who had already formed distinct villages 
on the headwaters of the Mississippi and its principal north- 
eastern tributaries, were not engaged in the bloody trans- 
action of the taking of Fort Michilimackinac, or at most, 
but a few of their old warriors who have all now fallen in- 
to their graves, were noted as having been accidentally 
present on the occasion of this most important event in the 
history of their tribe. 

It is true that the war-club, tobacco, and wampum belt 
of war had been carried bv the messengers of Pontiac and 
his lieutenant, the Mackinaw chieftain, to La Pointe, and 
the principal villages of the tribe on Lake Superior, but the 
Ojibways listened only to the advice and the words of peace 
of a French trader who resided at Sault Ste. Marie, and 
from this point (with an influence not even surpassed by 
that which his contemporary, Sir Wm. Johnson, wielded 

cadotte's influence over the o jib ways. 211 

over the more eastern tribes), he held sway, and guided 
the councils of the Lake Superior Ojibways, even to their 
remotest village. 

. This man did not stand tamely by, as many of his fellow 
French traders did, to witness the butchery of British 
soldiers and subjects, and see the blood of his fellow whites 
ruthlessly and freely flowing at the hands of the misguided 
savages. On the contrary, he feared not to take a firm stand 
against the war, and made noble and effective efforts to 
prevent the deplorable consequences which their opposition 
to the British arms, would be sure to entail on the Ojib- 
ways. He knew full well that the French nation had 
withdrawn forever from their possessions in this country, 
and that their national lire, which was promised would 
blaze forever with the fire of the Ojibways, was now to- 
tally extinguished, and knowing this, he did not foolishly 
stimulate, as others did, the sanguinary opposition which 
the Indians continued to make against the predominant 
Saxon race, by telling them that " the great king of the 
French had only fallen into a drowse, but would soon 
awaken, and drive the English back into the great salt 

On the contrary, he pointed out to the Ojibways, the 
utter uselessness and impotence of their efforts ; and he 
told them that the war would only tend to thin the ranks 
of their warriors, causing their women to cover their faces 
with the black paint of mourning, and keep them misera- 
bly poor, for the want of traders to supply their wants. 

It is through the humane advice of this French trader, 
and the unbounded influence which he held over the Lake 
Superior Ojibways, which prevented them from joining 
the alliance of Pontiac, in his war against the English, and 
which has thereby saved them from the almost utter anni- 
hilation which has befallen every other tribe who have 
been induced to fight for one type of the white race against 



another, and which enables them at this day to assume the 
position of the most numerous and important branch of 
the Algic race, and the largest tribe residing east of the 

The name of this man was John Baptiste Cadotte, and 
he was a son of the Mons. Cadeau who first appeared in 
the Ojibway country, as early as in 1671, in the train of 
the French envoy, Sieur du Lusson, when he treated with 
the delegates of the northwestern Indian tribes at Sault 
Ste. Marie. 

John Baptist Cadotte 1 (as his name was spelt by the 
British, and has been retained to this day) had, early in 
life, followed the example of the hardy western adventurers 
who had already found their way to the sources of the 
Great Lakes and the Great Kiver, Mississippi. He went 
as a " Marchand voyageur," and visited the remotest vil- 
lages of the Ojibways on Lake Superior, to supply their 
wants in exchange for • their valuable beaver skins. He 
became attached to one of their women, belonging to the 
great clan of A-waus-e, and married her according to the 
forms of the Catholic religion, of which he was a firm be- 

At the breaking out of the war between France and 
Great Britain, which resulted in the ending of the French 
domination in America, Mons. Cadotte made it his perma- 
nent residence at Sault Ste. Marie, from which point he 
eventually wielded the salutary influence which we have 
mentioned. He is the only French trader of any import- 
ance whom the Ojibways tell of having remained with 
them, when the French people were forced to leave the 
Lake Superior country. And it is said that though he 
made several attempts to leave the Ojibway people in com- 
pany with his departing countrymen, such was the affection 

1 For a Dotice of Cadot or Cadotte cleaned from parish and other records, 
see another article in this volume. — E. D. N. 



which they bore to himself and his half-breed children, 
that their chiefs threatened to use force to prevent his de- 

His Ojibway wife appears to have been a woman of great 
energy and force of character, as she is noted to this day 
for the influence she held over her relations — the principal 
chiefs of the tribe; and the hardy, fearless manner, in 
which, accompanied only by Canadian "Coureurs du bois" 
to propel her canoes, she made long journeys to distant vil- 
lages of her people to further the interests of her husband. 

She bore him two sons, John Baptiste, and Michel, who 
afterwards succeeded their father in the trade, and became, 
with their succeeding children of the same name, so linked 
with the Ojibways, that I shall be forced often to mention 
their names in the future course of my narrative, although 
at the evident risk of laying myself open to the charge of 
egotism, or making them prominent because they happen 
to be my direct progenitors. - 

Alex. Henry, in his straight-forward and truthful nar- 
rative, gives full testimony to all which I have said respect- 
ing the position and influence of Mons. Cadotte among the 
Ojibways during the middle of the past century, and not 
only for the purpose of making known the noble and phil- 
anthropic conduct of this man during this trying season in 
Ojibway history, but also to more fully illustrate to the 
reader the position and affairs of the tribe during this era, 
I will take the liberty to introduce a few more paragraphs 
from his pen. In the spring of the following year after 
his capture, having passed the winter as an Indian in the 
hunting camp of his adopted brother \Va-wa-tam, in 
whose family he was ever kindly treated, he returned to 
the fort at Michilimackinac, which now contained but two 
French traders. He says : — 

"Eight days had passed in tranquillity, when there 
arrived a band of Indians from the bay of Sag-u-en-auw (Sag- 





inaw.) They had assisted at the siege of Detroit, and came 
to muster as many recruits for that serviee as they could. 
For my own part, I was soon informed that, as I was the 
only Englishman in the place, they proposed to kill me, 
in order to give their friends a mess of English broth to 
raise their courage. This intelligence was not of the most 
agreeable kind, and in consequence of receiving it, I re. 
quested my friend to carry me to the Sault de Saint Marie, 
at which place I knew the Indians to be peaceably inclined, 
and that M. Cadotte enjoyed a powerful influence over 
their conduct. They considered M. Cadotte as their chief, 
and he was not only my friend, but a friend to the English. 
It was by him that the Chippeways of Lake Superior were 
prevented from joining Pontiac." 

His friend and brother AYa-wa-tam was not slow in exert- 
ing himself for his preservation, and leaving Mackinaw 
during the night, he proceeded with him to Isle aux 
Outardes, on the route, to Sault Sainte Marie. Here 
Konen, the wife of Wa-wa-tam, falling sick, they were 
obliged to remain for some days, in the greatest fear of 
hostile Indians, who were now daily expected to pass 
on the route to Missisaukie, or Straits of Niagara, for 
the purpose of carrying on the war against the British. A 
return to Mackinaw was to incur certain destruction, and 
it was with the greatest pleasure that the distressed 
traveller at last saw a canoe approaching the island, which 
he knew must be manned by Canadians, by the manner in 
which the paddles were managed, and the whiteness of the 
sail. On entering the lodge of his adopted brother, elated 
with the news of the approach of white men, he says : — 

"The family congratulated me on the approach of so 
fair an opportunity of escape, and my father and brother 
(for he was alternately each of these) lit his pipe, and pre- 
sented it to me, saying, 4 my son, this may be the last time 
that ever you and I shall smoke out of the same pipe. I 



am sorry to part with you. You know the affection which 
I have always borne you, and the dangers to which I have 
exposed myself and family, to preserve you from your ene- 
mies ; and I am happy to find that my efforts promise not 
to have been in vain.' At this time a boy came into the 
lodge, informing; us that the canoe had come from Michili- 
mackinac, and was bound to the Sault de Sainte Matte. 
It was manned by three Canadians, and was carrying 
home Madame Cadotte, the wife of M. Cadotte, already 
mentioned. My hopes of going to Montreal being now- 
dissipated, I resolved on accompanying Madame Cadotte, 
with her permission, to the Sault. On communicating my 
wishes to Madame Cadotte, she cheerfully acceded to them. 
Madame Cadotte, as I have already mentioned, was an 
Indian woman of the Chippeway nation, and she was very 
generally respected. . . . Being now no longer in the so- 
ciety of Indians, I put aside their dress, putting on that of 
a Canadian : a moleton or blanket coat over my shirt, 
and a handkerchief about my head, hats being very little 
worn in this country. At daylight on the second morning 
of our voyage, we embarked, and presently perceived sev- 
eral canoes behind us. As they approached, we ascertained 
them to be the fleet bound for the Missisaki, of which I 
had been so long in dread. It amounted to twenty sail. 

" On coming up with us, and surrounding our canoe, and 
amid general inquiries concerning the news, an Indian 
challenged me for an Englishman, and his companions sup- 
ported him, saying that I looked very like one, but I 
affected not to understand any of the questions which they 
asked me; and Madame Cadotte assured them that I was 
a Canadian, whom she had brought on his first voyage 
from Montreal. The following day saw us safely landed 
at the Sault, where I experienced a generous welcome from 
M. Cadotte. There were thirty warriors at this place, re- 
strained from joining the war only by M. Cadotte's infiu- 



ence. Here, for five days, I was once more in possession 
of tranquillity ; but on the sixth, a young Indian came into 
M. Cadotte's, saying that a canoe full of warriors had just 
arrived from Michilimackinac ; that they had inquired for 
me; and that he believed their intentions to be bad. Xearly 
at the same time, a message came from the good chief of 
the village, desiring me to conceal myself, until he should 
discover the views and temper of the strangers. A garret 
was the second time my place of refuge ; and it was not 
long before the Indians came to M. Cadotte's. My friend 
immediately informed Match-i-ki-wish, their chief, who 
was related to his wife, of the design imputed to them, of 
mischief against myself. Match-i-ki-wish frankly acknow- 
ledged that they had had such a design ; but added, that 
if displeasing to M. Cadotte, it should be abandoned. He 
then further stated, that their errand was to raise a party 
of warriors to return with them to Detroit ; and that it 
had been their intentiou to take me with them. 

" In regard to the principal of the two objects thus dis- 
closed, M. Cadotte proceeded to assemble all the chiefs 
and warriors of the village, and then, after deliberating 
for some time among themselves, sent for the strangers, to 
whom both M. Cadotte and the chief of the village 
addressed a speech. In these speeches, after recurring to 
the designs confessed to have been entertained against 
myself, who was now declared to be under the protection 
of all the chiefs, by whom any insult I might sustain would 
be avenged, the embassadors were peremptorily told that 
they might go back as they came, none of the young men 
of this village being foolish enough to join them. 

" A moment after, a report was brought that a canoe had 
just arrived from iSTiagara. As this was a place from 
which every one was anxious to hear news, a message was 
sent to these fresh strangers, requesting them to come to 
the council. The strangers came accordingly, and being 



seated, a long silence ensued. At length, one of them, 
taking up a belt of wampum, addressed himself thus to 
the assembly : — 

' u My friends and brothers, I am come with this belt 
from our great father, Sir "William Johnson. He desired 
me to come to you as his embassador, and tell you that he 
is making a great feast at Fort Niagara : that hi3 kettles 
are all ready and his fires lit. He invites you to partake 
of this feast, in common with your friends, the Six Nations, 
who have all made peace with the English. He advises 
you to seize this opportunity of doing the same, as you 
cannot otherwise fail of being destroyed ; for the English 
are on their march with a great army, which will be joined 
by different nations of Indians. In a word, before the fall 
of the leaf, they will be at Michilimackinac, and the Six 
Nations with them.' " 

The tenor of this speech greatly alarmed the Indians 
throughout the Northwest, and those who fortunately had 
not embrued their hands too deeply in British blood, 
were glad to send delegates to the Great Council at 
Niagara. Among the rest, the Sault Ste. Marie Ojibways 
sent twenty deputies, with whom Mr. Henry, after one 
year of captivity and trouble, returned once more to his 
friends. These deputies, though they went in fear and 
trembling, were well received at the hands of Sir 
William Johnson, and they now experienced the good 
consequences of having listened to the advice of their 

During the summer of the same year, 1764, in which 
the council was held at Niagara, where it is said that 
twenty-two different tribes were represented, a British 
force of three thousand men under Gen. Bradstreet pro- 
ceeded up the lakes as far as Detroit. Under the command 
of this officer, Alexander Henry had a battalion of Indian 
allies, among whom were " ninety-six Ojibways of Sault 



Ste. Mary," who, however, nearly all deserted before the 
army reached Fort Erie. 

On arrival of this large body of troops at Detroit, a 
permanent peace was effected with all the northern tribes, 
including the Ojibways. Pontiac, the head and heart of 
the bloody Indian war which had now come to an end, 
was not present at this treaty. His best allies, the tribes 
of the northern lakes, had deserted him, and he thereafter 
confined his exertions to the tribes of the Miami s, Shawa- 
noes, and Illinois, towards the south and west. He never 
overcame his animosity to the Saxon race, and had he not 
suffered a premature death at the hands of an Indian of 
the Kaskaskia tribe, he would again have fanned the flames 
of another sanguinary war. His name and influence ex- 
tended over all the Algic tribes, and their regret for his 
loss is fully proved by the manner in which the Ojibways, 
Pottawaudumies, Ottawas, and Osaugees revenged his 
death by total extermination of the tribe to which belonged 
his assassin, and of the Illinois, Cahokias, and Peorias, 
who rallied to their defence, but a few families were saved 
from total annihilation. 

For two years after the ending of Pontiac's war, the 
fear of Indian hostility was still so great that the British 
traders dared not extend their operations to the more 
remote villages of the Ojibways, and La Pointe, during 
this time, was destitute of a resident trader. To remedy 
this great evil, which the Indians, having become ac- 
customed to the commodities of the whites, felt acutely, 
Ma-mong-e-se-da, the war chief of this village, with a party 
of his fellows, was deputed to go to Sir Win. Johnson, to 
ask that a trader might be sent to reside among them. 
He is said to have been well received by their British 
father, who presented him with a broad wampum belt of 
peace, and gorget. The belt was composed of white and 
blue beads, denoting purity and the clear blue sky, and 



this act settled the foundation of a lasting good-will, and 
was the commencement of an active communication between 
the British and Ojibways of Lake Superior. 

A brief notice may not be considered amiss in this place, 
of the chief Ma-mong-e-se-da, who acted in this important 
affair as the representative of his tribe. His father was a 
member of the Reindeer Clan, and belonged to the northern 
division of the tribe. He moved from Grand Portage on 
the north shore of Lake Superior when a young man, to 
the main village of his tribe at Shauedia-waum-ik-ons:. 
Becoming noted as an active and successful hunter, and 
having distinguished himself at the battle of Point Pres- 
cott, where the Ojibways destroyed so many of their 
enemies, he married a woman of the La Pointe village, 
who had been the wife of a Dakota chief of distinction 
during the late term of peace which the French traders 
had brought about. The renewal of the war had obliged 
her to separate from her Dakota husband, and two sons 
whom she had borne him, one of whom afterwards became 
a celebrated chief, whose name, Wabasha, has descended 
down in Dakota and Ojibway traditions to the present 

Ma-mong-e-se-da (Big Feet), was the offspring of his 
mother's second marriage with the young hunter of the 
Reindeer Clan. He became noted as he grew up to be a 
man, for the fearless manner in which he hunted on the 
best hunting grounds of the Dakotas, on the lower waters 
of the Chippeway River, and an incident worthy of note is 
related as having happened to him during the course of 
one of his usual fall hunts. His camp on this occasion 
consisted of several lodges of his own immediate relatives. 
They had approached near the borders of the Dakota coun- 
try, in the midland district lying between the Mississippi 
and Lake Superior, when, one morning, his camp was tired 
on by a party of Dakota warriors. At the second volley, 



one of his men being wounded, Ma-niong-e-se-da grasping 
his gun sallied out, and pronouncing his name loudly in 
the Dakota tongue, he asked if "Wabasha, his brother, was 
among the assailants. The firing ceased immediately, and 
after a short pause of silence, a tall figure ornamented with 
a war dress, his head covered with eagle plumes, stepped 
forward from the ranks of the Dakotas and presented his 
hand. It proved to be his half brother Wabasha, and 
inviting him and his warriors into his lodge, Ma-niong-e- 
se-da entertained them in the style of a chief. 

This chieftain was noted also for the frequency of his 
visits to Montreal and Quebec, and the great love he bore 
to the French people, whose cause he warmly espoused 
against the British. He was at last recognized as a chief, 
and received a medal and flag at the hands of the French. 
He actively aided them in their wars with Great Britain, 
and on one occasion he took a message from Gen. Mont- 
calm to the Lake Superior Ojibways, asking them to come 
to his aid in Canada. But a small party followed the 
chieftain on his return to join the French general, in whose 
ranks he fought at the taking of Quebec in 1759. 

After the failure of the Indian opposition to the British 
arms in 1764, Ma-mong-e-se-da, through the attentions he 
received at the hands of Sir William Johnson, became 
a fast friend to the English. After his death he was 
succeeded by his son Waub-o-jeeg, in his war chieftain- 
ship, who became much more noted in Ojibway history 
than even his father. 

The British trader Alexander Henry, notwithstanding 
the losses and misfortunes which had befallen him at the 
hands of the Ojibways, again returned into their country 
immediately after the peace, and joining his more ample 
means with the greater influence of Mons. Cadotte in 
partnership, they carried on the fur trade with the Ojib- 
ways of Lake Superior, which had for a^time been discon- 


tinued. They made it their depot at Sault Ste. Marie and 
from this point they sent outfits to Shaug-a-waum-ik-ong 
and other points of the great lake. It is even said that 
Mons. Cadotte, through his influence with the Indians, and 
knowledge of the former mining localities of the French, 
being acquainted with rich deposits of copper ore and 
masses of the virgin metal, he in conjunction with Mr. 
Henry, carried on mining operations in connection with 
their trade on the Ontonagon River. 

I have learned from some of the old chiefs of the tribe, 
among whom I may mention Ke-che-wash-keenh, or Great 
Buffalo, of La Tointe, that soon after the first arrival of 
the British into their country, the chiefs of the Ojibways at 
Sault Ste. Marie made a formal grant of a large tract of 
land, comprising the present site of the town of Ste. Marie, 
to Mons. Cadotte and his half-breed children. The written 
grant it appears, through some means fell into the hands 
of Alexander Henry, after whose death some person brought 
it back into the Ojibway country, and made inquiries of 
some of the principal chiefs as to its authenticity. It was 
shown to Great Buffalo at Sault Ste. Marie, and he described 
it as being a very old-looking paper, being much torn and 
patched up, and the writing upon it hardly discernible. 
Many questions were asked him by the gentleman who 
had it in possession, respecting the number and where- 
abouts of Cadotte's descendants. The paper was taken 
back to Montreal, and has never been heard of since. 






The Dakotas make a grand tribal effort to drive back the Ojihway? — Their 
warriors collect at St. Anthony Falls — They ascend the Mississippi in canoes 
— They make the circuit of the Upper Mississippi country — Death of the 
Ojibway hunter, Waub-u-dow — Death of Minaigwatig with his family at 
Gauss Lake — Death of three boys at Little Boy Lake — Death of an Ojibway 
hunter, near the Falls of Pokeguina — The Dakotas are discovered by two 
Ojibway hunters — Chase down the Mississippi — Arrival at Sandy Lake — 
Drunken carouse of the Ojibways — Death of the Ojibway scout — Dakotas 
capture thirty women while picking berries — They attack the village of 
Sandy Lake — They are repulsed and proceed down the river — An Ojibway 
war party discover their marks, and lie in ambuscade at Crow Wing — 
Preparations for battle — Three days'' fight — Dakotas finally retreat and evac- 
uate Rum River County — Dakota legend. 

After having given, in the two preceding chapters, a 
summary account respecting the affairs of the Ojibways, 
attendant on the change from the French to the British 
supremacy, we will once more return to the northwestern 
vanguard of the tribe, under the chief Bi-aus-wah, whom 
we left battling with the fierce Dakotas for the possession 
of the Upper Mississippi country. 

As near as can be judged from their mode of computing 
time, by events, and generations, it is now 1 about eighty 
five years [1768] since the following events occurred, to 
that portion of the tribe who had located their village at 
Sandy Lake, and hunted about the sources of the Great 
River. The incidents to be related, resulted in a fierce 
battle between the warriors of the two contending tribes, 
at the confluence of the Crow Wins River with the Mis- 



» A. D. 1S52. 


The most reliable account of this occurrence which the 
writer has been enabled to obtain, is that given by Esh-ke- 
bug-e-coshe, the venerable and respected chief of the north- 
ern Ojibways. He is one whose veracity cannot be im- 
peached. He is between seventy and eighty years of age, 
and the tale having been transmitted to him by his grand- 
father Waus-e-ko-gub-ig (Bright Forehead), who acted as 
leader of the Ojibway warriors who fought in this action, 
his account can be implicitly relied on. 

"The M'de-wak-anton Dakotas, being at last obliged, 
from the repeated incursions of the Ojibways, to evacuate 
their grand villages at Millc Lacs and Knife Lake, now 
located themselves on Rum River. Smarting under the 
loss of their ancient village sites, and their best hunting 
grounds and rice lakes, they determined to make one more 
united and national effort to stem the advance of their 
troublesome and persevering enemies, and drive them back 
to the shores of Lake Superior. 

Having for some years past been enjoying an active com- 
munion with the French traders, they had become supplied 
with fire-arms, and in this respect they now stood on the 
same footing with the Ojibways, who had long had the 
advantage over them, of having been first reached by the 

War parties formed at the different villages of the 
Dakotas, and met by appointment at the Falls of St. An- 
thony, where the ceremonies preceding the march of In- 
dian warriors into an enemy's country being performed, 
the party, consisting of from four to five hundred men, 
embarked in their canoes, and proceeding up the Mississippi, 
reached, without meeting an enemy, the confluence of the 
Crow Wing River with the " Father of Rivers." 

It was but a short time previous that they had possessed 
and occupied the country lying on and about the head- 
waters of the Mississippi, and being thus perfectly familiar 



with the route and portages from lake to lake, and the 
usual summer haunts of the Indian hunter, they determined 
to make the grand circuit hy Gull, Leech, Cass, and Win- 
nepegosish Lakes, and descending the Mississippi from its 
head, pick up the stray hunters and rice-gatherers of their 
enemy, and attack the village of the western Ojibways at 
Sandy Lake. Carrying this plan of their campaign into 
execution, the Dakotas ascended the Crow Wing and Gull 
Rivers into Gull Lake, from the northern extremity of 
which they made their -first portage. Carrying their ca- 
noes about two miles, they again embarked on Lake Sib- 
ley ; making another portage, they passed into White Fish, 
or Ud-e-kum-ag Lake, and through a series of lakes into 
Wab-ud-ow Lake, where they spilt the first Ojibway blood, 
killing a hunter named Wab-ud-ow (White Gore), from 
which circumstance the lake is named to this day by the 
Ojibways. From this place they passed into Gauss Lake, 
where again they massacred an unfortunate hunter with 
his wife and children. The tale of this transaction is 
briefly as follows : — 

An Ojibway named Min-ah-ig-want-ig (Drinking Wood), 
was travelling about in his birch bark canoe, with his 
family, making his summer hunt. One evening, after dark, 
he arrived at Gauss Lake, where seeing a long line of fires 
lighting the shore, and supposing it to be the encampment 
of a war party of Rainy Lake Ojibways on their way to 
the Dakota country, he silently but confidently approached 
the shore to camp with them. On hearing, however, the 
language of their enemies spoken, he discovered his mis- 
take, and quickly backing out, he entered the mouth of a 
little creek, and pushing his canoe into a clump of tall grass, 
or rushes, he and his family passed the night in the canoe, 
within plain hearing of the loud talking and singing of 
their enemies. 

Towards morning the foolish hunter, placing his paddle 



upright behind his back to rest upon, fell asleep. On the 
first appearance of day, the Dakotas embarked, and one of 
their canoes passing close to the shore, noticed with an 
Indian's wariness and sagacity, the mark of a canoe through 
the grass and weeds at the entry of the little creek. One 
of the Dakotas arose in his canoe, and seeing the end of 
the upright paddle sticking up above the tall grass in the 
creek, he quietly informed his fellows, and the Ojibway, 
being surrounded, was surprised in his sleep — he and his 
family killed and scalped, with the exception of one child 
taken captive. 

Much elated, the Dakota war party proceeded on their 
way, and at Little Boy, or Que-wis-aus Lake, they again 
attacked and killed three little boys, while engaged in 
gathering wild rice. Their parents, hearing the noise of 
the firing incident to the attack, made their escape. From 
this circumstance, this large and beautiful sheet of water 
has derived its Ojibway name of Que-wis-aus (Little Boy). 

The Dakotas passed into Leech Lake, and crossing over 
by a short portage into Cass Lake, they commenced their 
descent of the Mississippi. A short distance above the 
Falls of Puk-a-gum-ah, they again destroyed an Ojibway 
hunter and his family. On the banks of the river where 
this occurrence took place, the Dakotas made marks on 
the pine trees, which are still discernible to the eye of the 
traveller. The Ojibways call it Mun-zin-auk-wi-e-gun (tree 
picture marks). 

Some distance below the Falls of Puk-a-gum-ah, they 
were met and discovered by two Ojibway hunters, in a 
birch canoe, who turned and fled down the river, warning 
their fellows as they went. The Dakotas made a warm 
pursuit, as they wished to attack the village of their ene- 
mies at Sandy Lake by surprise. The fleeing hunters, by 
making short portages across long bends of the river, left 
their pursuers some distance, and arrived at the Sandy 



Lake village during the night, but found a number of the 
bravest warriors gone on a war party down the Mississippi, 
and the remainder of the men of their village drinking 
" fire-water," whieh had been brought by a number of their 
fellows, who had just returned from their periodical sum- 
mer visit to Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinaw. The alarm 
was given, and the drinking stopped, though many of the 
older men were already hors du combat through the effects 
of the liquor. Such as were able, prepared for defence. 

One of the young hunters who had arrived to warn the 
village, having dropped a small looking glass, while cross- 
ing a short portage, which is sometimes made from the 
Mississippi into Sandy Lake, and it being in those days an 
article rare and much valued among them, he returned 
early in the morning to look for it. He went alone in his 
light birch canoe, but found the portage covered with 
the Dakotas who had been pursuing them. Some were 
crossing in their canoes, while the main body were making 
their way on foot to attack the Ojibway village by land. 
On being discovered, a hot pursuit in canoes was made 
after the young hunter by the Dakotas, and being single 
in his canoe, they fast gained on him. Making straight 
for an island which lies directly in front of the village, the 
young man landed, pulled his canoe across the island, and 
again embarking, paddled away for life. By this man- 
oeuvre he gained a little on his pursuers, who were obliged 
to round the point of an island in their heavier canoes. 
The Dakotas, however, being full manned, caught up with 
and dispatched the fleeing hunter before he reached the 
main shore, and in full sight of the Ojibway village. 

In the mean time, the party who were approaching to 
attack the village by land, discovered a party of Ojibway 
women, who were picking huckleberries, whom they sur- 
rounded and easily captured. These female captives, most 
of whom were young and unmarried, numbered thirty. 



The Dakotas then attacked the village, but such of the 
Ojibways as were sober, and had got over their drunken 
frolic, having made their preparations, manfully resisted 
the attack, till the drunken warriors, being brought to 
their sober senses by being frequently immersed in cold 
water by the women, increased the ranks of the defenders, 
and after a desperate struggle finally succeeded in causing 
the Dakotas to retreat, who returning to their canoes, em- 
barked with their prisoners, and continued their course 
down the Mississippi, triumphing in the repeated blows 
they had inflicted on their enemies. 

They were doomed, however, to run a severe gauntlet 
before reaching their villages, and to pay dearly for the 
temerity which had led them to proceed so far into the 
country which the Ojibways claimed as their own. A 
party of sixty Ojibway warriors had, a short time previous, 
left their village at Sandy Lake (as has been mentioned), 
and under the leadership of Waus-uk-o-gub-ig, a distin- 
guished war-chief, they proceeded down the Mississippi in 
their birchen canoes, to the haunts of their enemies. Meet- 
ing with no success in their foray after scalps, they left 
their canoes in the enemy's country, and were returning 
home on foot, when, arriving at Crow \Ying, they dis- 
covered the late encampment of the Dakotas, who were 
making the grand circuit of the northern country. 

From the marks thus discovered, the Ojibways became 
satisfied that the enemy, who had gone up the Crow Wing 
River, would either soon return the same way, or come 
down the Mississippi, after having perhaps massacred 
their wives and children at Sandy Lake. They determined, 
therefore, to await their coming at the confluence of these 
rivers, and notwithstanding the apparent strength of their 
enemies, to give them battle. 

About half a mile below the main mouth of the Crow 




Wing, and a few rods above Allan Morrison's present 1 
establishment, or trading post, on the east side of the Mis- 
sissippi, the river makes a curve, and the whole force of 
the current is thrown against the banks in the bend, which 
rise almost perpendicular from the water's edge, fifty feet 
high, and on the brow of which stands a few pine trees. 
Boats or canoes passing down the river are naturally drawn 
by the current immediately under this bank ; and, with an 
eye to these advantages, the Ojibway warriors determined 
to post themselves here in ambuscade. They dug several 
holes along this bank, for two or three hundred feet, capa- 
ble of holding eight or ten men each, in rows, from which, 
perfectly invisible to their passing enemy, and sheltered 
from their missiles, they intended to commence the attack. 

Satisfied at the immense odds they would have to con- 
tend with, they made every preparation. Hunters were 
sent out to kill and dry meat sufficient to sustain the whole 
party for several days, and scouts were sent some distance 
above the river, to watch the first coming of their enemies. 

One morning after their preparations had all been com- 
pleted, one of their scouts, who had been sent about a mile 
up the Mississippi, and who was watching on the bank for 
the first appearance of the Dakotas, descended carelessly to 
the water's edge to drink. "While lapping the water with 
his hand to his lips, looking up the river, he perceived a 
canoe suddenly turn a point of land above him. Instinc- 
tively he threw himself flat on the ground, and gradually 
crawled unperceived up the bank. When out of sight, on 
looking back, he saw the whole bosom of the river covered 
with the war canoes of those for whose coming he had been 
sent to watch. Seeing that he had not been noticed, he 
flew back to his comrades, who now prepared fully for the 
approaching conflict, by putting on their war paints and 
ornaments of battle. 

i A. D. 1852. 



Directly opposite the main mouth of the Crow Wing, on 
the spot where the American Fur Company's post is now 1 
located, and in plain view of their ambuscade, the Ojib- 
ways saw their enemies disembark, and proceed to cook 
their morning meal. They saw the large group of female 
prisoners, as they were roughly pushed ashore, and made 
to build the fires and hang the kettles. Amongst them, 
doubtless, were their wives, daughters, or sisters. They 
saw the younger warriors of the enemy form in a ring, and 
dance, yelling and rejoicing, over the scalps they had taken. 
They saw all this, and burning with rage, they impatiently 
awaited the moment when their foes would come within 
range of their bullets and arrows. With difficulty the 
leader restrained his younger and more fool -hardy warriors 
from rushing forth to attack their enemies while engaged 
in their orgies. 

Amongst the captives was an old woman, who at every 
encampment, had exhorted her fellows not to he cast down 
in their spirits, for their men who had gone on a war party 
would certainly, at some place, attack their captors, and in 
this case they must upset the canoes they were in, and 
swim for life to the shore from which their friends would 
make the attack. In this manner did she teach " her grand- 
children," as she called them, to be prepared for a sudden 

The Dakotas, having finished their morning meal, and 
scalp-dancing, once more poured into their canoes. They 
floated down with the current in a compact mass, holding 
on to each other's canoes, while filling and lighting their 
pipes, and passing them from one to another, to be alter- 
nately smoked. Above them, dangling from the ends of 
poles, were the bloody scalps they had taken. In the fore- 
most canoes were the war leaders, and planted before them 
were the war ensigns of feathers. After smoking out their 

i A. D. 1852. 



pipes, the Jeen-go-dum l was uttered by the whole party, 
with a tremendous noise. The drums commenced beat- 
ing, accompanied with yells and songs of triumph. Still 
moving in a compact flotilla, in full rejoicing, the force of 
the current at length brought them immediately under the 
deadly ambuscade of their enemies. 

The moment had now come which the Ojibways had so 
long been aching for, and at the sound of their leader's 
war-whistle, they suddenly let fly a flight of bullets and 
barbed arrows into the serried ranks of the enemies, pick- 
ing out for death the most prominent and full plumed 
figures amongst them. Yelling their fear-striking sas-sak- 
way, or war-whoop, they sent their deadly missiles like 
hail amongst tbeir enemies, sending many of their bravest 
warriors to the land of spirits. The confusion amongst 
the Dakotas at this sudden and unexpected attack was 
immense. The captives overturned the canoes they were 
in, and the rest running against one another, and those in 
the water struggling to re-embark, and the sudden jumps 
of those that were wounded, caused many of them to over- 
turn, leaving their owners struggling in the deep current. 
Many were thus drowned, and as long as they remained 
within range of their enemies' weapons, the Dakotas suf- 
fered severely. 

Some dove and swam ashore on the opposite side — then 
running down the bank of the river, they joined those of 
their fellows who still floated, about a mile below the place 
of the attack, where they all landed and collected their up- 
turned canoes, and such of their articles as floated past. 
Many of their captives made their escape by swimming to 
their friends. Some were dispatched at the first onset, 
and the few that still remained in their hands, the Dako- 
tas took and tied to trees, to await the consequences of the 

1 The Jeen-go-dum is a peculiar cry, uttered by warriors after killing an 


coming struggle, for, smarting under the loss of their 
bravest men, and having noticed the comparatively small 
numbers of the Ojibways, they determined to go back and 
fight the battle anew, and revenge the death of their rela- 

They bravely made the attack, but the Ojibways were so 
strongly and securely posted, that they sustained the fight 
till dark without losing any of their men, while the Dako- 
tas suffered severely, being obliged to fight from open 
ground, without shelter. The fight lasted till night, when 
the Dakotas retreated. They encamped where they had 
landed, and in plain view and hearing of their enemies, 
who, during the night distinctly heard their lamentations, 
as they wept for their relatives who had been slain during 
the clay's fight. 

In the morning, the Dakotas, burning for vengeance, 
returned to the attack. Acting with greater caution and 
wariness, they approached the Ojibway defences by dig- 
ing counter holes, or making embankments of earth or logs 
before them, to shield them from their missiles. The am- 
munition of the contending warriors failing them, the Da- 
kotas dug their hiding holes so close to those of their foes, 
that large stones were easily thrown from hole to hole. 
In this manner, a late noted Ojibway chief named WVesh- 
coob (Sweet), who was then a young man, received a stun- 
ning blow on his face, which broke his jawbone. Some of 
the bravest warriors fought hand to hand with clubs and 
knives, and the Ojibways lost one of their number, who, 
fighting rather rashly, was dispatched by a Dakota brave, 
and scalped. 

The Ojibways, however, defended themselves so obsti- 
nately, that they eventually forced their enemies to retreat. 
Having suffered a severe loss, the Dakota warriors returned 
to their villages, and for fear that the Ojibways would re- 
taliate, by making a similar incursion into their country, 



the M'de-wak-an-ton section of the tribe evacuated the 
Hum River country, and moved to the Minnesota River. 


The follow ins; Dakota legend connected with the invar 


sion of their tribe to the heads of the Mississippi, of which 
we have given the preceding account, was related to the 
writer by Waub-o-jeeg (White Fisher), a chief of the Mis- 
sissippi Ojibways, who being of part Dakota origin, in his 
younger days lived more or less with them, and learned to 
speak their language. In this manner he picked up many 
of their traditions and beliefs, and among the number, the 
following simple, but affecting story : — 

A young Dakota warrior, eager to gain renown, deter- 
mined to join the war party which Was gathering at his 
village at St. Anthony's Falls, and destined to sweep the 
Ojibway country, and put out the fires which this tribe 
had lighted on the Upper Mississippi. He had just taken 
to wife a beautiful girl of his tribe, whom he loved, and 
who dearly loved him. She endeavored to dissuade him 
from going to war on this occasion. He would not listen 
to the soft persuasions, nor allow her loving caresses to 
affect his determination, for all the young men of his vil- 
lage were going, and they would laugh at him were he to 
remain alone with the women, when there were ea<rle 
plumes and renown to be gained. "With tears the young 
wife importuned her husband to remain. She told him 
that a presentiment weighed on her heart, that he would 
never return from this war path. 

The young warrior, though he dearly loved his bride, 
was resolute in withstanding her persuasions, but to appease 
her anxious mind, and her dreams of ill-boding, he 
solemnly promised and called on the spirits to hear him, 
that he would return to her. Their last parting was sad 



and tearful, and she could not even bear to witness the 
ceremonies attendant on the departure of the warriors from 
their village. She counted every day of his absence, and 
as the days increased in number, she daily eagerly looked 
for his return. The warriors had overstayed the appointed 
number of days, in which they had promised to return, 
and they were now hourly expected back to their homes. 
Their wives and sweethearts decked themselves out in 
their finery, in anticipation of their coming. 

The anxious young wife retired to the water's side early 
one morning, and sat down on the grassy banks of the flow- 
ing Mississippi, to comb and braid her long and beautiful 
hair. The glassy surface of the bright waters at her feet 
served her for a mirror. Notwithstanding her former pre- 
sentiments, she expected the return of her young husband 
that day, for he had solemnly promised it by the name of 
the spirits. She prepared, therefore, to appear to him to the 
best advantage. As she cast her eyes at the current which 
sluggishly swept past her feet, she noticed a dark object 
floating beneath the surface of the waters. The circling 
eddies brought it to her feet, and with a slight scream of 
surprise, and a cold thrill at her heart, she recognized a 
human figure. Instinctively she sprang forward, and catch- 
ing the body by the arm, pulled it partly on shore. As if 
an ice bolt had been applied to her heart, she knew the 
features of her young husband. The feathered end of a 
barbed arrow which had pierced his heart, still stuck from 
his breast. He had kept his promise— he had returned, 
indeed, but in death. The young, heart-broken wife, utter- 
ing a piercing shriek, fell senseless on the inanimate body. 
The villagers hearing that despairing cry, ran to the water's 
side, and at sight of the dead warrior, they received the 
first intimation of the loss which their warriors had suf- 
fered at Crow Wing fight. The young husband had prob- 
ably been killed while floating down the river in his canoe, 



at the first fire of the ambushed Ojibways, and the cur- 
rent might naturally have taken his body to the spot where 
his wife was awaiting his arrival, while his fellows were 
fighting at Crow Wing, and during their return homeward. 

The shattered remains of this grand war party returned 
the same day. The young wife whose presentiment had 
thus been most awfully fulfilled, pined away, and wept 
herself to death. She died happy in the hope and belief 
of rejoining her young warrior husband, in the happy land 
of spirits. 




Ojibways of Sandy Lake send a war party into the Dakota country— They 
attack a village on the banks of the Minnesota River — Origin of the Ojibway 
name of this river— Ke -che-waub-ish-ash leads a party of 120 warriors against 
the Dakotas — Accidental meeting with a party of the enemy of equal 
strength at Elk River- Indian fight— The retreating Dakotas are reinforced 
—Retreat of the Ojibways — They make a firm stand — The Dakotas set the 
prairie on fire — Final flight of the Ojibways, who take refuge on an island — 
A second fight on Elk River, " Battle Ground" — Death of the war chief 
Ke-che-waub-ish-ash — Brief sketch of his life. 

In order to retaliate on the Dakotas the invasion which 
they had made on the Upper Mississippi, which resulted 
in the battle of Crow Wing, and the capturing of their 
women at Sandy Lake, the Ojibways, early the following 
spring, collected a war party nearly two hundred strong, who, 
embarking in their birch canoes, paddled down the current 
of the Mississippi into the country of their enemies. They 
discovered no signs of the Dakotas in the course of their 
journey as far down as the mouth of Crow River, within 
thirty miles of St. Anthony Falls. Here they left their 
canoes, and proceeding across the country to the Minnesota 
River, they discovered a village of their enemies situated 
a short distance from its confluence with the Mississippi. 
The attack on this village, though severely contested by 
the Dakotas, was perfectly successful, and the war party 
returned home with a large number of scalps. The inci- 
dents of this fight were told to me by Waub-o-jeeg (White 
Fisher), a present living sub-chief of the Mississippi Ojib- 
ways, whose grandfather Xo-ka acted as one of the leaders 
of this party ; but as his accounts are somewhat obscure. 



and much mixed with the unnatural, I refrain from giving 
the details. 

This incursion to the Dakota country is, however, notable 
from the fact, that it is the first visit of the kind which 
the Ojibways of this section tell of their ancestors having 
made to the Minnesota River. When the warriors left 
their homes in the north, it was early spring, and the 
leaves had not yet budded. On arriving at the Minnesota 
River, however, they were surprised to find spring far 
advanced, and the leaves on the trees which shaded its 
waters, in full bloom. From this circumstance they gave 
it the name of Osh-ke-bug-e-sebe, denoting " Xew Leaf 
River," which name it has retained among the Ojibways 
to the present day. 

A few years after the incursion of !N"o-ka to the Minne- 
sota River, the Ojibways again collected a war party of 
one hundred and twenty men, and under the leadership of 
Ke-che-waub-ish-ashe (Great Marten) a noted warrior, who 
acted as the war chief of Bi-aus-wah, they embarked in 
their canoes, and floated down the Mississippi, which they 
had now learned to make their chief and favorite war 
course. On their way down the river, the leader every 
morning deputed a canoe of scouts to proceed some distance 
in advance of the main body, to search for signs of the 
enemy, and runners were sent ahead "by land, to follow 
down each bank of the river, to prevent a surprise of the 
party from an ambuscade of the enemy. Guarded in this 
manner from any sudden surprise, the Ojibway warriors 
quietly floated down with the current of the great river. 
On this occasion they had reached a point a short distance 
above the mouth of Elk River, when the scouts in the 
foremost canoe, as they were silently paddling down, hug- 
ging the eastern bank of the Mississippi, immediately 
below an extensive bottom of forest trees, heard loud 
talking and laughing in the Dakota language, on the bank 



just above them. Instantly they turned the bow of their 
canoe up stream, and swiftly stealing along close to the 
bank they escaped undiscovered, behind the point of the 
heavy wooded bottom, we have mentioned. Here they 
met the main party of their fellows, whose canoes nearly 
covered the broad bosom of the river for half a mile. The 
scouts threw up the water with their paddles as a signal 
for them to make for the eastern bank, and this signal 
being made from canoe to canoe, the warriors soon leaped 
ashore and pulling their canoes upon the grassy bank, they 
waited but to rub on their faces and bodies the warpaints, 
ornament their heads with eagle plumes, and secure on 
their bodies the pe-na-se-wi-ame, or war medicine sack, 
they rushed on without order through the wooded bottom, 
and as they emerged one after another on the open prairie, 
they saw a long line of Dakota warriors, about equal in 
numbers to themselves, walking leisurely along, following 
the war path against their villages. 

Thev were out. of bullet range from the edge of the 
wood, but the Ojibway warriors rushed out on the open 
prairie towards them, as if to a feast, and " first come was 
to be best served." Their w r ar whoop was bravely answered 
back by the Dakotas who now, for the first time, perceived 
them, and bullet was returned for bullet. The warriors of 
both parties leaped continually from side to side, to prevent 
their enemies from taking a sure aim ; and as they stood 
confronting one another for a few moments on the open 
prairie, exchanging quick successive volleys, their bodies in 
continual motion, the plumes on their heads waving to and 
fro, and uttering their fierce, quick, sharp battle cry, they 
must have presented a singular and wild appearance. For 
a short time only, the Dakotas stood the eager onset of 
the Ojibways. For, seeing warrior after warrior emerging 
in quick succession from the wood, in a line of half a 
mile, they began to think that the enemy many times out- 


numbered them, and under this impression, dropping their 
blankets and other incumbrances, they turned and fled 
down the prairie towards the mouth of Elk River. As 
they ran, they would occasionally turn and lire back at 
their pursuers. And in this manner, a running fight wa3 
kept up for about three miles, when the Dakotas met a 
large party of their fellows who had come across from the 
Minnesota River to join them in their excursion against 
the Ojibways. With this addition, they outnumbered 
the Ojibways more than double, and the chase was now 
turned the other way. 

The Ojibways, hard pressed by the fresh reinforcements 
of their enemy, ran up and along the banks of Elk 
River, till, becoming wearied by their long run, they 
made a firm stand in a grove of oak trees, which skirt a 
small prairie near the banks of Elk River. Here the fight 
was sustained for a long time, the Ojibways firing from 
the shelter of the oak trees, and the Dakotas digging holes 
in the ground on the open prairie, and thus gradually 
approaching the covert of their enemies. The Ojibways, 
however, manfully stood their ground, and the Dakotas 
after losing many lives in the attempt to dislodge them, 
resorted to a new and singular expedient. A strong south 
wind was blowing, and being the spring of the year, before 
the green grass had grown to any length, the prairie was 
still covered with a thick coating of the last year's dry 
grass. To this the Dakotas set fire, and it blowing 
immediately against the Ojibways, the raging flames 
very soon caused them to leave their covert, and seek 
for safety in flight. It required the utmost endeavors of 
their best runners to keep ahead of the flames, and those 
who had been wounded during the course of the previous 
conflict, were soon caught and devoured by the raging 



The Ojibways fled panting for breath, in the dense 
smoke of the burning prairie, towards the Mississippi, and 
jumping into its waters, they eventually took refuge on an 
island. It is said that the froth hang in wide flakes from 
the lips of the tired warriors as they reached this, their 
last covert. The Dakotas followed them closely in the 
wake of the murderous fire which they had lit, but they 
dare not attack them on the island, where they had 
sought refuge, and from this point, after one of the most 
terrible combats which is told of them in their traditions, 
both parties returned to their respective villages. 

The Ojibways acknowledge to have lost eight of their 
warriors at the hands of the Dakotas, and three caught and 
consumed by the flames. They claim having made a much 
greater havoc in the ranks of their enemies, especially 
during the time they fought from the secure shelter of the 
oak grove. And as the Dakotas have always acknowledged 
them as being the better shots during battle, it is not at 
all unlikely that they suliered a severe loss in killed and 
wounded on this occasion. 

On the following year it happened that the Ojibways, to 
the number of sixty, again proceeded down the Mississippi 
on a war party, and on the very spot where the preceding 
year they had accidentally met the Dakotas, they again met 
them in greater force than ever. From all accounts which 
I have gathered, the enemy, on this occasion, numbered full 
four hundred warriors, but the hardy Ojibways, again 
under the guidance of their brave .war-chief, Big Marten, 
although they first discovered the enemy, refused to retreat, 
and the camps remained in sight of each other's fires dur- 
ing the first night of their meeting. The Ojibways, how- 
ever, prepared for the coming battle. They dug holes 
two or three feet deep in the ground, large enough to hold 
one and two men, from which they intended to withstand 



the attack which the Dakotas, through their great supe- 
riority of numbers, were expected to make on the follow- 
ing day. 

Early the ensuing morning the enemy possessed them- 
selves of a wood which lay within bullet range of the Ojib- 
way defences, and the fight actively commenced. Each 
party fighting from behind secure shelters, the battle was 
kept up the whole day without much loss to either side. 
It was only on occasions when an enemy was seen to fall, 
that the bravest warriors would rush from their coverts, to 
secure the scalp, and the opposite party as eager to prevent 
their man from being thus mutilated, would rally about 
his body, and the conflict between the bravest warriors 
would be, for a few moments, hand to hand, and deadly. 

On an occasion of this nature, the Ojibways, towards 
evening, lost their brave leader, the " Big Marten," who 
was foremost in every charge, and fighting but little from 
behind a covert, he had been, during the day, the most 
prominent mark of the Dakota bullets. At night the 
enemy retreated, but camped again within sight of the Ojib- 
ways, who, discouraged at the loss of their brave war-chief, 
made a silent retreat during the darkness of the night, and 
returned to their village at Sandy Lake. 

From the circumstance of two battles having been 
fought in such quick succession on the point of land be- 
tween the Elk and Mississippi Rivers, this spot has been 
named by the Ojibways, Me-gaud-e-win-ing, or "Battle 

Ke-che-waub-ish-ash, who fell lamented by his tribe at 
the last of these two fights, belonged, as his name denotes, 
to the Clan of the Marten. He was a contemporary of Bi- 
aus-wah, and the right-hand man of this noted chief. He 
was the war-chief of the Upper Mississippi, and tradition 
says, that his arm, above all others, conduced to drive the 
Dakotas from the country covered by the sources of the 


great river. While Bi-aus-wah acted as the civil and 
peace chief, Ke-che-waub-ish-ash influenced the warriors, 
and when the war was raging between his people and the 
Dakotas, into his hands its direct management was en- 
trusted. He figured in every important engagement 
which we have mentioned as taking place between the 
Sandy Lake Ojibways and their enemies. He was noted 
for great hardihood and bravery, and he fell at the last, 
deeply lamented by his people, at Elk River fight, covered 
with wounds' received in a hundred fights. He is one of 
the few whose name will long be remembered in Ojibway 





The Odugamies, after partially regaining their former numbers, make their 
last tribal effort against the Ojibways — Battle of St. Croix Falls — Tradition 
of this event, as told by the Ojibways — Waub-o-jeeg collects a war party at 
La Pointe — He proceeds at the head of 300 men into the Dakota country — 
Failure of the Sandy Lake warriors to keep their appointment — Landing of 
the Ojibways at the head of the St. Croix Falls — They discover the allied 
Odugamies and Dakotas landing at the foot of the Falls — Preparations for 
battle — Ojibways and Odugamies engage — Odugamies are beaten, and 
Dakotas rally to their rescue — Ojibways are forced to retreat, but are rein- 
forced by 60 warriors from Sandy Lake — Disastrous flight and loss of their 
enemies — Waub-o-jeeg loses his brother, and is himself wounded — Rem- 
nants of the Odugamies ask to be incorporated with the Osaugees — Their 
prayer is granted — Waub-o-jeeg — A sketch of his life. 

The Odug amies (Foxes), who had been forced by the 
Ojibways during the French domination to retire from the 
Wisconsin and Fox Rivers to the Mississippi, had, under 
the guardianship of the Osaugees, partially regained their 
former strength and numbers ; and, still smarting from the 
repeated and powerful blow r s which their fathers had 
received at the hands of the Ojibways about eighty years 
ago, they made their last grand tribal effort to revenge 
their wrongs and regain a portion of their former country. 

They ascended in w T ar canoes the current of the broad 
Mississippi, and prevailing on their former allies, the 
Dakotas, to join them, together they proceeded up the 
St. Croix. While crossing their canoes over the portage 
at the Falls of this river, they encountered a war party of 
Ojibways, and here, among the rocks and boulders of the 
St. Croix, the Odugamies fought their last tribal battle. 

The account which the old men of the Ojibways give of 
this important event is briefly as follows: Waub-o-jeeg 



(White Fisher), the son of Ma-mong-e-se-da, had succeeded 
on his father's death, to the war chieftainship of the Lake 
Superior Ojibways. He was a brave and a wise man, who 
had already become famous for the success of every party 
which he joined, or led, against the hereditary enemies of 
his tribe. On this occasion, he sent his club of war, tobacco, 
and wampum, to all the scattered bands of the Ojibways, 
to collect a war party to proceed against the Dakota vil- 
lages on the St. Croix and Mississippi, who had lately very 
much annoyed their hunting camps in this district. War- 
riors from the Falls of St. Marie, Grand Island, Kuk-ke- 
wa-on-an-ing (L'Ance), the Wisconsin and Grand Portage, 
obeyed his call, and at the head of three hundred men 
"Waub-o-jeeg started from La Pointe, Shaug-a-waum-ik-ong. 

In their light birch-bark canoes, they ascended the left 
branch of the Mush-kee-se-be or " Bad River," to its head, 
and made a portage of ten miles in length to Long Lake, a 
beautiful sheet of clear water which lies on the dividing 
summit between the Mississippi and Lake Superior. 
Making three more short portages from lake to lake, they 
at last embarked on the Xum-a-kaug-un branch of the St. 
Croix, and having now entered the dangerous country of 
their enemies, the wise leader proceeded slowly, keeping 
scouts continually ahead, to prevent surprise from an ambus- 
cade. It took him six days to descend to the mouth of 
Snake River, where he expected to meet a party of war- 
riors from the Sandy Lake and Mille Lac villages. He 
had sent them his war club and tobacco, with word that 
" at a given time he would be on the waters of the St. 
Croix searching for their enemies," and they had sent 
tobacco and word in return, that a sixty of their warriors 
would join him on a certain day at the meeting of the 
waters of the Snake and St. Croix Rivers." On arriving 
at the spot designated, Waub-o-jeeg discovered no signs of 



the promised party, but still confident in his numbers, he 
continued on his course down stream. 

The Ojibways arrived at the head of the St. Croix Falls 
(a distance of two hundred and fifty miles from their start- 
ing point), early in the morning, and while preparing to 
take their bark canoes over the rugged portage, or carry- 
ing place, the scouts who had been sent in advance, re- 
turned with the information that a very large war party 
of Odugamies and Dakotas were landing at the foot of the 
falls, apparently with the intention of crossing over their 
wooden canoes. ISTow, commenced the hurry and excite- 
ment of approaching battle. The " novices," or those of 
the party who were on their first war path, were forcibly 
driven back into the water by the elder warriors, there to 
wash off the black paint which denoted their condition of 
initiates into the mysteries of war. This customary pro- 
cedure on the eve of an attack or battle, being performed, 
the warriors grasped their medicine bags, and hurriedly 
adorned their faces and naked bodies with warpaint, those 
that earned them planted the eagle plumes on their head- 
dress, which denoted enemies they had slain or scalps taken, 
and the pe-na-se-wi-am, holding the charms of supposed in- 
vulnerability, were attached to different portions of their 
head-dress, armlets, or belts. 

During this busy scene of preparation for the coming 
contest, the war leader called on the Great Spirit with a 
loud voice for protection to his followers and success against 
their enemies. Then addressing his fellows, his clear voice 
rang among the rock's and mingled with the noise of the 
waterfall, as he urged them to fight like men, be strong 
of heart, at the same time advising them to be careful of 
their lives, that their relatives might not weep in mourning 
for their loss. Having finished these customary prepara- 
tions, the Ojibways, grasping their arms, proceeded to find 
their enemies. The scouts of their opponents had already 



discovered them, and the two parties, as if by mutual 
agreement, met in the middle of the portage. The battle 
which ensued was the most chivalric which is told of in their 
traditions. The Odugamies, after seeing the comparatively 
small number of the Ojibways, and over confident in the 
prowess of their own more numerous warriors, are said to 
have requested their allies, the Dakotas, to stand quietly 
by, to witness how quickly they would gather the scalps 
of the Ojibways. 

This request was granted, and the Dakotas retired to an 
adjacent eminence, and calmly filling their pipes, they 
viewed the conflict as though perfectly unconcerned. The 
fight between the warriors of the two contending tribes, is 
said to have been fiercely contested, and embellished with 
many daring acts of personal valor. The voices of the war 
chiefs resounded above the rattle of musketry and yells 
of their warriors, as they urged them to stand their 
ground, and not turn their backs in flight. In fact the 
nature of the ground on which they fought was such, that 
retreat was almost impracticable for either party. It was 
a mere rugged neck of rock, cut up into deep ravines, 
through which the deep and rapid current of the river 
forces a narrow passage, and at either end of the portage a 
sudden embarkation into their frail canoes could not safely 
be effected in face of an enemy. There is a wood around 
the portage on the land side, inclosing the neck of rock 
over which it leads, and only through this could the beaten 
party safely retreat. "Waub-o-jeeg, early in the fight 
secured this important point, by sending thither a number 
of his warriors. 

i About midday, after fighting with great desperation, the 
Odugamies began to give ground, and they were at last 
forced to turn and flee in confusion. They would probably 
have been killed and driven into the river to a man, had 
not their allies, the Dakotas, arose from their seats at this 


juncture, and yelling their war-whoop, rushed to the rescue 
of their discomfited allies. The Ojibways resisted their 
new enemies manfully, and it was not till their ammuni- 
tion had entirely failed, that they in turn showed their 
backs in flight. But few would tell the sad tale of defeat 
and the death of brave men, had not the party of sixty 
warriors from Sandy Lake, who were to have joined them 
at the mouth of Snake River, arrived at this opportune 
moment, and landed at the head of the portage. Eager for 
the fight, and fresh on the field, the band rushed forward 
and withstood the onset of the Odugamies and Dakotas, 
till their friends could rally again to the battle. 

After a short but severe contest, the warriors of the two 
allied tribes were forced to flee, and the slaughter in their 
ranks is said to have been great. Many were driven over 
the rocks into the boiling floods below, there to find a 
watery grave. Others, in attempting to jump into their 
narrow wooden canoes, were capsized into the rapids. Every 
crevice in the cliffs where the battle had been fought, con- 
tained a dead or wounded enemy. The Ojibways suffered 
a severe loss in the death of a large number of their bravest 
warriors. The brother of \Vaub-o-jeeg was numbered 
among the dead, and the war-chief himself carried on his 
person the marks of the sanguinary fight, in a wound on 
his breast. But a few of the Odugamies escaped, and from 
this time they forever gave up the contest with the vic- 
torious Ojibways. They retired to the south, far away 
from the reach of the war-club, which had so often made 
them to weep, and now so nearly exterminated their war- 

The old Ojibway chief, "Great Buffalo," of La Pointe, 
says that the fire of the Odugamies was, by this last stroke, 
nearly extinguished, and they were reduced to fifteen 
lodges. A second time they went weeping to the village 
of the Osaugees, who had intermarried with them to a con- 


6klerable extent, and begged to be incorporated in their 
tribe, and to live under their powerful protection. They 
offered to be their cutters of wood and carriers of water, 
and filled with compassion at their broken numbers and 
tears of sorrow, the Osaugees, who are a family of the 
Algic stock, at last, for the first time, formally received 
them into their tribe, and it is only from this period that 
the fire of these two tribes (whose names are so linked 
together in modern history), can be truly said as having 
become one and undivided. 

The old men of the Ojibways assert that the Odugamies 
speak a distant language, 1 and do not really belong to the 
Algonquin council fires, and it is only since their close 
intercourse with the Osaugees that the Algonquin language 
has become in use among them. I am aware that this 
assertion is directly contrary to the results of Mr. School- 
craft's researches, who places the Odugamies as one of the 
most prominent tribes of the Algics. Xever having had 
the advantage of comparing the peculiar dialect of this 
tribe with the Ojibway, I am consequently not prepared to 
deliver a direct opinion. Their warfare with the Oduga- 
mies has been of such long standing and so sanguinary, that 
the Ojibways may naturally consider them as much a dis- 
tinct race from themselves, as the Dakotas or Winnebagoes, 
the last of whom, in time of peace, they are accustomed to 
denominate as "younger brothers," which circumstance, 
however, should not mislead us into the belief that they 
consider them as being really a kindred tribe in any closer 
degree than their being respective families of the red race 
in general. 

1 A French memoir on the Indians between Lake Erie and the Mississippi 
River, prepared in 1718, and which appears as Paris, Doc. vii. in N. T. Col. Doc. 
vol. ix., contains thisstatement : u The Foxes are eighteen leagues from the Sacs, 
they number five hundred men, abound in women and children, are as indus- 
trious as they can be, and have a different language from the Outaouaes. 
An Outaouae interpreter would be of no use with the Foxes." — E. D. N. 



As I shall not probably again have occasion to mention, 
in the further course of my narrative, the name of the dis- 
tinguished war-chief who led the Ojibways in the battle of 
St. Croix Falls, which so effectually put a final stop to 
their old war with the Odugamies, I will here present to 
the reader a brief account of his short but brilliant career. 

Mr. Schoolcraft, in one of his valuable works on the red 
race, has given an elaborate notice of the life of this noted 
chieftain, and as he doubtless obtained his information 
from his direct descendants, nearly thirty years since, when 
he acted in the official capacity of United States agent 
among the Ojibways, and when the acts of Waub-o-jeeg 
were still comparatively new in the traditions of his tribe, 
the account which he has given can be implicitly relied on, 
and very little, if anything, can be added to it. 

We glean from this, that Waub-o-jeeg was born about 
the year 1747. He early gave indications of courage, and, 
Mr. Schoolcraft relates this anecdote, that on the occasion 
which we have mentioned in a previous chapter, when his 
father, Ma-mong-e-se-da, turned a sudden attack of the Da- 
kotas on his camp into a« peace visit, by calling out for his 
half-brother, the Dakota chief, Wabasha — Waub-o-jeeg, 
then a mere boy, posted himself with a war-club close to 
the door of his father's lodge, and as his tall Dakota uncle 
entered, he gave him a blow. Wabasha, pleased with the 
little brave, took him in his arms, caressed him, and pre- 
dicted that he would become a brave man, and prove an 
inveterate enemy of the Dakotas. Mr. Schoolcraft con- 
tinues his biographical notice of Waub-o-jeeg as follows: — 

" The border warfare in which the father of the infant 
warrior was constantly engaged, early initiated him in the 
arts and ceremonies pertaining to war. With the eager 
interest and love of novelty of the young, he listened to 
their war songs and war stories, and longed for the time 
when he would be old enough to join these parties, and 


also make himself a name among warriors. While 
quite a youth, he volunteered to go out with a party, and 
soon gave convincing proof of his courage. He also early 
learned the arts of hunting the deer, the bear, the moose, 
and all the smaller animals common to the country ; and 
in these pursuits he took the ordinary lessons of Indian 
young men in abstinence, suffering, danger, and endurance 
of fatigue. In this manner his nerves were knit and 
formed for activity, and his mind stored with those lessons 
of caution which are the result of local experience in the 
forest. He possessed a tall and commanding person, with 
a full, black, piercing eye, and the usual features of his 
countrymen. He had a clear and full-toned voice, and 
spoke his native language with grace and fluency. To 
these attractions he united an early reputation for bravery 
and skill in the chase, and at the age of twenty-two, he was 
already a war leader." 

Expeditions of one Indian tribe against another require 
the utmost caution, skill, and secrecy. There are a hun- 
dred things to give information to such a party, or influence 
its action, which are unknown to civilized nations. The 
breaking of a twig, the slightest impression of a foot-print, 
and other like circumstances, determine a halt, a retreat, 
or an advance. The most scrupulous attention is also paid 
to the signs of the heavens, the flight of birds, and above 
all to the dreams and predictions of the jos-so-keed, priest 
or prophet, who accompanies them, and who is intrusted 
with the sacred sack. The theory upon which all these 
parties are conducted, is secrecy and stratagem ; to steal 
upon the enemy unawares ; to lay in ambush, or decoy ; to 
kilt, and to avoid as much as possible the hazard of being 
killed. An intimate geographical knowledge of the 
country is also required by a successful war leader, and 
such a man piques himself not only upon knowing every 
prominent stream, hill, valley, wood, or rock, but the 



particular productions, mineral and vegetable, of the scene 
of operations. When it is considered that this species of 
knowledge, shrewdness, and sagacity is possessed on Loth 
sides, and that the nations at war watch each other as a 
lynx for its prey, it may be conceived that many of these 
border war parties are either light skirmishes, sudden 
on-rushes, or utter failures. It is seldom that a close, well- 
contested, long-continued hand battle is fought. To kill 
a few men, tear off their scalps in haste, and retreat with 
these trophies, is a brave and honorable trait with them, 
and may be boasted of in their triumphal dances and war- 
like festivities. 

" To glean the details of these movements would be to 
acquire the modern history of the tribe, which induced me 
to direct my inquiries to the subject ; but the lapse of even 
forty or fifty years, had shorn traditions of most of these 
details, and often left the memory of results only. The 
Chippeways told me that this chief had led them seven 
times to successful battle against the Sioux and Outagamies, 
and that he had been wounded thrice — once in the thigh, 
once in the right shoulder, and a third time in the side 
and breast, being a glancing shot. His war party consisted 
either of volunteers, who had joined his standard at the 
war dance, or of auxiliaries, who had accepted his messages 
of wampum and tobacco, and came forward in a body to 
the appointed place of rendezvous. These parties varied 
greatly in number. His first party consisted of but forty 
men ; his greatest and most renowned of three hundred, 
who were mustered from the villages on the shores of the 
lake, as far east as St. Mary's Falls." 

This last party is the one which \Yaub-o-jeeg led in the 
battle of the St. Croix, an account of which Mr. Schoolcraft 
proceeded to give. Respecting the details of this important 
occurrence, however, it appears that he has received but 
meagre information, as he finishes it in a single paragraph. 



He does not mention the sixty warriors from Sandy Lake, 
who decided the fate of the battle, and which swelled the 
ranks of "Waub-o-jccg to three hundred and sixty warriors. 
The tradition of this event is still clearly related by the 
Ojibways of the Mississippi, they having learned it from 
the lips of their fathers who were present at the battle. 

After giving in verse the plaintive lament of W anb-o- 
jeeg for the warriors who fell at St. Croix Falls, Mr. 
Schoolcraft, who, through his long, official connection with 
the Ojibways, obtained an accurate knowledge of their 
general customs and mode of passing the different seasons 
of the year, continues in his forcible and lucid style to 
give a faithful picture of Indian life : 

u It is the custom of these tribes to go to war in the 
spring and summer, which are not only comparatively 
seasons of leisure with them, but it is at these seasons that 
they are concealed and protected by the foliage of the 
forest, and can approach the enemy unseen. At these 
annual returns of warmth and vegetation, they also engage 
in festivities and dances, during which the events and 
exploits of past years are sung and recited : and while they 
derive fresh courage and stimulus to renewed exertion, the 
young, who are listeners, learn to emulate their fathers, and 
take their earliest lessons in the art of war. 

" Nothing is done in the summer months in the way of 
hunting. The small furred animals are changing their pelt, 
which is out of season. The doe retires with her fawns 
from the plains and open grounds, into thick woods. It is 
the general season of reproduction, and the red man, for a 
time, intermits his war on the animal creation, to resume 
it against man. As the autumn approaches, he prepares 
for his fall hunts, by retiring from the outskirts of the 
settlements and from the open lakes, shores, and streams, 
which have been the scenes of his summer festivities, and 
proceeds, after a short preparatory hunt, to his wintering 



grounds. This round of hunting, festivity, and war, fills 
up the year ; all the tribes conform in these general cus- 
toms. There are no war parties raised in the winter. This 
season is exclusively devoted to procuring the means of 
their subsistence and clothing, by seeking the valuable 
skins which are to purchase their clothing and their 
ammunition, traps, and arms. 

" The hunting grounds of the chief, whose life we are 
considering, extended along the southern shores of Lake 
Superior, from the Montreal River, to the inlet of the Wis- 
a-co-da, or Burnt Wood River of Fond du Lac. If he 
ascended the one, he usually made the wide circuit indi- 
cated, and came out at the other. He often penetrated by 
a central route up the Mas-ki-go, or Bad River. This is a 
region still abounding, but less so than formerly, in the 
bear, moose, beaver, otter, marten, and muskrat. Among 
the smaller animals are also to be noticed the mink, lynx, 
hare, porcupine, and partridge, and towards its southern 
and western limit, the Virginia deer. 

"In this ample area, the La Pointe, or Chagoimegon, 
Indians hunted. It is a rule of the chase, that each 
hunter has a portion of the country assigned to him, on 
which he alone may hunt ; and there are conventional laws 
which decide all questions of right and priority in start- 
ing and killing game. In these questions, the chief exer- 
cises a proper authority, and it is thus in the power of one 
of these forest governors and magistrates, when they 
happen to be men of sound sense, judgment, and manly 
independence, to make themselves felt and known, and 
to become true benefactors to their tribes. And such 
chiefs create an impression upon their followers, and leave 
a reputation behind them, which is of more value than 
their achievements in war. 

" Waub-o-jeeg excelled in both characters; he was equally 
popular as a civil ruler and war-chief; and while he admin- 



istered justice to his people, he was an expert hunter, and 
made due and ample provision for his family. He usually 
gleaned, in a season, by his traps and carbine, four packs 
of mixed furs, the avails of which were ample to provide 
clothing for all the members of his lodge circle, as well as 
to renew his supply of ammunition and other essential 

" On one occasion he had a singular contest with a 
moose. He had gone out one morning early, to set his 
traps. He had set about forty, and was returning to his 
lodge, when he unexpectedly encountered a large moose in 
his path, which manifested a disposition to attack him. 
Being unarmed, and having nothing but a knife and small 
hatchet which he carried to make his traps, he tried to 
avoid it, but the animal came towards him in a furious 
manner. He took shelter behind a tree, shifting his 
position from tree to tree retreating. At length, as he fled, 
he picked up a pole, and quickly untying his moccasin 
strings, he bound his knife to the end of the pole. He 
then placed himself in a favorable position behind a tree, 
and when the moose came up, stabbed him several times 
in the throat and breast. At last the animal, exhausted 
with the loss of blood, fell. He then dispatched him, and 
cut out his tongue to carry home to his lodge, as a trophy 
of victory. "When they went back to the spot for the car- 
case, they found the snow trampled down in a wide circle, 
and copiously sprinkled with blood, which gave it the 
appearance of a battle-field. It proved to be a male of un- 
common size. 

" The domestic history of a native chief can seldom be 
obtained. In the present instance, the facts that follow 
may be regarded with interest, as having been obtained 
from residents of Chagoi-me-gon, or from his descendants. 
He did not take a wife until about the age of thirty, and 
he then married a widow, by whom he had one son. He 



had obtained early notoriety as a warrior, which perhaps 
absorbed his attention. What causes there were to render 
this union unsatisfactory, or whether there were any, is 
not known ; but after the lapse of two years, he married a 
girl of fourteen, of the Totem of the Bear, by whom he had 
a family of six children. He is represented as of a temper 
and manners affectionate and •forbearing. He evinced 
though tfulness and diligence in the management of his 
affairs, and the order and disposition of his lodge. When 
the hunting season was over, he employed his leisure 
moments in adding to the comforts of his lod^e. His 
lodge was of an oblong shape, ten fathoms long, and made 
by setting two rows of posts firmly in the ground, and 
sheathing the sides and roof with tbe smooth bark of the 
birch. From the centre rose a post crowned with the 
carved figure of an owl, which he had probably selected as 
a bird of good omen, for it was neither his own nor his 
wife's totem. The figure was so placed that it turned with 
the wind, and answered the purpose of a weather-cock. 

"In person, Waub-o-jeeg was tall, being six feet six 
inches, erect in carriage, and of slender make. He possessed 
a commanding countenance, united to ease and dignity of 
manners." He was a ready and fluent speaker, and con- 
ducted personally the negotiations with the Fox and Sioux 
nations. It was perhaps twenty years after the battle on 
the St. Croix, which established the Chippeway boundary 
in that quarter, and while his children were still young, 
that there came to his village in the capacity of a trader, 
a young gentleman of a respectable family in the north of 
Ireland, who formed an exalted notion of his character, 
bearing, and war-like exploits. This visit, and his con- 
sequent residence on the lake during the winter, became 
an important era to the chief, and has linked his name and 
memory with numerous persons in civilized life. Mr. John- 
ston asked the northern chief for his youngest daughter. 



'Englishman/ he replied, 'my daughter is yet young, and 
you cannot take her, as white men have too often taken our 
daughters. It will be time enough to think of complying 
with your request when you return again to this lake iu 
the summer. My daughter is my favorite child, and I 
cannot part with her, unless you will promise to acknowledge 
her by such ceremonies as white men use. You must ever 
keep her, and never forsake her.' On this basis a union 
was formed, it may be said, between the Erse and Algon- 
quin races, and it was faithfully adhered to till his death, 
a period of thirty-seven years. 

" Waub-o-jeeg had impaired his health in the numerous 
war parties which he conducted across the wide summit 
which separated his hunting grounds from the Mississippi 
Valley. A slender frame under a life of incessant exertion, 
brought on a premature decay. Consumption revealed 
itself at a comparatively early age, and he fell before this 
insidious disease in a few years, at the early age of about 
forty-five. He died in 1793, at his native village of Cha- 

Waub-o-jeeg will long live in the traditions of the annals 
of his tribe. His descendants of mixed blood, by his 
youngest daughter, who married Mr. Johnston, are now 
numerous and widespread, being connected with some of 
the first families in the northwest. Mi*. Schoolcraft him- 
self, who is so well known by his numerous valuable works 
on the reel race, married a daughter of this union, who was 
educated in Ireland. She proved, during the comparatively 
short period that her life was spared to him, an amiable 
and loving wife. 





General remarks on the character of the Leech Lake Ojibways — Their gradual 
increase— Origin of their present distinctive name — Their camp is visited by 
a trader from the Lower Mississippi, in the summer of 1781 — His inability, 
through sickness, to trade — Indians commence to take his goods on credit— 
A pillage ensues — Whisky found— The trader is forced to leave, and dies at 
Sauk Rapids— The Pillagers send a delegation to Mackinaw to atone for 
their conduct — They receive presents from the British — On distribution of 
the presents at Fond du Lac they fall sick of the smallpox — Common saying 
against the British — Account of the real manner in which the smallpox 
came to be introduced among them— War party of Assineboines, Kenistenos, 
and Ojibways to the Missouri — Attack on a village of dead enemies — They 
catch the infection — The Kenisteno village is depopulated — Course of the 
contagion — Loss of lives among the allied tribes. 

In the year 1781, the large band of the Ojibways T who 
had taken possession of Leech Lake (one of the principal 
sources of the Mississippi), became for the first time known 
by. the distinctive appellation of " Pillagers," Muk-im-dua- 
win-in-e-wug (men who take by force). 1 They had become 
noted at this time (and it is a character which they have 
retained ever since), as being the bravest band of the tribe. 
Being obliged, continually, to fight with the Dakotas for 
the country over wmieh they hunted, every man capable of 
bearing arms became a warrior and had seen actual service. 
They were consequently filled with a daring and indepen- 
dent spirit, and no act was so wild, but that they were 
ready and disposed to achieve it. 

This band was formed mostly of the noted clans of the 
Bear, and A-waus-e or Catfish, and at the time which we 
are now considering, they probably numbered about one 

1 Henry found " Pillagers" in 1775 at Lake of the Woods. — E. D. N. 



hundred warriors. In 1832, Mr. Schoolcraft estimates 
their total number of souls at eight hundred. In 1836 
Mr. Nicollet estimates them as numbering one thousand, 
and in 1851, according to their payment census list, they 
number twelve hundred and h'fty souls, and their chief 
estimates the men who are capable of bearing arms at 
about three hundred. These, it will be remembered, 
include only the band who make Leech Lake their home, 
or summer residence ; and it is only these that are known 
by the distinctive name of Pillagers. The large bands 
residing at the present day at Red, Cass, and TVinnepeg 
lakes, and on Pembina River, are known by the general 
term of Northern Ojibways. 

Notwithstanding the never failing yearly drain which 
their warfare with the Dakotas have made in their ranks, 
yet still, from a natural increase, the healthfulness of the 
country they occupy, and gradual accessions from other 
villages, this band have increased in numbers and strength, 
till they now form a most respectable section of the Ojib- 
way tribe. The manner in which they obtained the 
significant name by which they are now generally known, 
is told by their old men as follows : — 

Durino; the summer of the vear which we have desis;- 
nated, the Leech Lake band had moved down towards the 
well stocked hunting grounds of the Dakotas, and en- 
camped at the entry of a small creek which empties into 
the Crow Wing River, about ten miles above its confluence 
with the Mississippi. While making the usual prepara- 
tions for the performance of their grand medawe rite, a 
large canoe arrived from the Lower Mississippi, manned 
by white men, and laden with merchandise. The trader 
who had, for the first time, come to this far off point of the 
great river, had started from a great distance below on its 
waters, for the purpose of trading with the Ojibways. He 
arrived at their camp very sick, and was not able to enter 



immediately into the barter for which the Indians were 
eager. Some of his goods having got wet by rain, were 
untied by his men, and exposed to the sun to dry. The 
temptation to the almost naked Indians, who had not seen 
a trader for a long time, was too great to be easily over- 
come, and being on the eve of their grand festival rite, 
when they are accustomed to display all the finery of 
which they are possessed, caused them doubly to covet the 
merchandise of the sick trader. They possessed plenty of 
furs, which they offered repeatedly to exchange, but the 
trader's men refused to enter into a trade till their master 
was sufficiently recovered to oversee it. There was no 
preconcerted plan, or even intention of pillage, when the 
rifling of the trader's effects actually commenced. 

A number of young men, women, and children, were 
standing around, admiring the goods which had been ex- 
posed to dry, and longing for possession, as much as an 
avaricious white man for a pile of yellow gold, when a 
forward young warrior approached a roll of cloth, and 
after feeling, and remarking on its texture, his itching 
fingers at last tore off a piece sufficient to make him a 
breech clout, at the same time he remarked, that he had 
beaver skins in his lod^e, and when the trader got well, he 
would pay his demands. The trader's men stood dumb, 
and making no effort to prevent the young pillager from 
carrying off the cloth, others becoming bold followed his 
example, and tearing off pieces of calico for shirts, cloth for 
blankets, the goods spread out to dry soon disappeared at 
a very uncertain credit. 

The young pillagers taking their trophies to the lodges, 
the excitement in the village became general, as each per- 
son became determined to possess a share of the trader's 
remaining bales. The crediting of the goods was now changed 
to an actual pillage, and the only anxiety evinced by the 
Indians, men, women, and children, was, who would secure 



the greatest quantity, A keg of fire water being discovered 
in the course of the ransacking the sick trader's outfit, 
added greatly to the excitement and lawlessness of the 
scene, and the men soon becoming unmanageable and 
dangerous, 'the rifled trader was obliged quickly to embark 
in his empty canoe, and leave the inhospitable camp of the 
Ojibways to save his life. It is said that he died of the 
sickness from which he was suffering, at Sauk Rapids, on 
his way down the Mississippi. 

From this circumstance, this band of the Ojibways 
became known amongst their fellows (who generally very 
much deprecated this foolish act), by the name of Pillagers, 
and the creek on which the scene we have described was 
enacted, is known to this day as Pillage Creek. 

At this time the Upper Mississippi bands had no regular 
trader to winter among them, and they were obliged to 
make visits each summer to La Pointe, Sault Ste. Marie, 
and Mackinaw, to procure the necessaries which their 
intercourse with the whites had learned them to stand in 
absolute need, such as clothing, arms, and ammunition, 
and to want, such as fire water. The few traders who had 
occasionally paid them visits, during this period in their 
history, had come from the direction of Lake Superior, 
and the trader who was pillaged, is the first they tell of 
having come from the Lower Mississippi. 

The conduct of the Pillagers in this affair, was generally 
censured by their more peaceful fellows as foolish and 
impolitic, as it would tend to prevent traders from coming 
amongst them for fear of meeting with the same treat- 
ment. To make up, therefore, for their misconduct, as 
well as to avert the evil consequences that might arise from 
it, the Pillagers on the ensuing spring, gathered a number 
of packs of beaver skins and sent a delegation headed by 
one of their principal men to the British fort at Mackinaw, 
to appease the ill-will of the whites, by returning an ample 



consideration for the goods which they had pillaged. 
The British commandant of the fort received the packs of 
beaver, and in return he assured the Pillagers of his good 
will and friendship towards them, and strengthened his 
words by giving their leader a medal, flag, coat, and bale 
of goods, at the same time requesting that he would not 
unfurl his flag, nor distribute his goods, until he arrived into 
his own country. 

With this injunction, the Pillager chief complied, till 
he landed at Fond du Lac, where, anxious to display the 
great consequence to which the medal and presents of the 
British had raised him in his own estimation, he formally 
called his followers to a council, and putting on his chief's 
coat, and unfurling his flag, he untied his bale of goods, 
and freely distributed to his fellows. Shortly after, he was 
taken suddenly sick, and retiring to the woods, he expired 
by himself, as the discovery of his remains afterwards 
indicated. All of those who had received a portion of the 
goods also fell sick, one after another, and died. The 
sickness became general, and spreading to different vil- 
lages, its fearful ravages took oft' a large number of the 
tribe. It proved to be the smallpox, and many of the 
Ojibways believed, and it is a common saying to this day, 
that the white men purposely inflicted it on them by 
secreting bad medicine in the bale of goods, in punishment 
for the pillage which the Leech Lake band had committed 
on one of their traders. 

This was a serious charge, and in order to ascertain if it 
was really entertained by the more enlightened and think- 
ing portions of the tribe, I have made particular inquiries, 
and flatter myself that I have obtained from the intelligent 
old chief of the Pillagers, a truthful account of the manner 
in which the smallpox was, on this occasion, actually intro- 
duced among the Ojibways. 


A war party of Kenistenos, Assineboines, and Ojibways, 
was once formed at the great Kenisteno village, which 
was at tliis time located on Dead River, near its outlet into 
the Red River of the Xorth. They proceeded westward 
to the waters of the Ke-che-pe-gan-o, or Missouri River, 
till they came to a large village of the Gi-aucth-in-ne-wug 
(Gros Ventres), which they surrounded and attacked. 
Through some cause which they could not at first account 
for, the resistance made to their attack was feeble. This 
they soon overcame, and the warriors rushing forward to 
secure their scalps, discovered the lodges filled with dead 
bodies, and they could not withstand the stench arising 
therefrom. The party retreated, after securing the scalps 
of those whom they had killed, among which was the 
scalp of an old man who must have been a giant in size, 
as his scalp is said to have been as large as a beaver skin. 
On their return home, for five successive nights, this scalp, 
which had been attached to a short stick being planted 
erect in the ground, was found in the morning to lean 
towards the west. This simple occurrence aroused the 
superstitious fears of the party, and when, on the fourth 
day, one of their number died, they threw away the fearful 
scalp, and proceeded homeward with quickened speed. 
Every day, however, their numbers decreased, as they fell 
sick and died. Out of the party, which must have 
numbered a considerable body of warriors, but four survived 
to return home to their village at Dead River. They 
brought with them the fatal disease that soon depopulated 
this great village, which is said to have covered a large ex- 
tent of ground, and the circumstance of the great mortality 
which ensued on this occasion at this spot, in the ranks of 
the Kenisteno and Assineboine,has given the river the name 
which it now bears Ne-bo, or Death River. In trying to 
ran away from the fatal epidemic, the Ojibways of this 



village spread the contagion to Rainy Lake, which village 
also it almost depopulated. From thence by the route of 
TPigeon River it reached Lake Superior at Grand Portage, 
and proceeded up the lake to Fond du Lac, where its 
ravages were also severely felt, and where the Pillager 
party on their return from Mackinaw caught the infection, 
and taking it to Sandy Lake, but a few of their number 
lived to reach their homes at Leech Lake, where it is 
said to have stopped, after having somewhat lessened the 
number of the Pillagers. The large village of Sandy Lake 
suffered severely, and it is said that its inhabitants became 
reduced to but seven wigwams. 

The loss of lives occasioned by this disease in the tribes 
of the allied Kenistenos and Assineboines, amounted to 
several thousands. And the loss among the Ojibways, as 
near as can be computed from their accounts at the present 
day, amounted to not less than fifteen hundred, or two 
thousand. It did not, luckily, spread generally, over the 
country occupied by the tribe, and its ravages were felt 
almost exclusively in the section and villages which have 
been designated. 





The Pillagers and Sandy Lake bands concentre their forces, and make their 
fall and winter hunts in the vicinity of Crow Wing and Long Prairie — The 
manner in which they employ themselves during ditferent seasons of the 
year — Game abounds on the Dakota hunting grounds about Crow Wing — 
Fruits of one day's chase of the Ojibway hunter JS r o-ka — Noka River is 
named after him — Pillagers and Sandy Lake bands rendezvous at Gull 
Lake — They proceed by slow marches towards Long Prairie — Meetings with 
the Dakotas — A temporary peace is affected, that either party may hunt in 
security — Manner of affecting a peace — Interchanges of good feelins: and 
adopted relationship — The peace is often treacherously broken — Wa-sou- 
aun-e-qua, or a tale of Indian revenge. 

As beaver, and the larger animals, such as buffalo, elk, 
deer, and bear, decreased in the immediate vicinity of Leech 
and Sandy Lakes, the hardy bands of Ojibways who had 
taken possession of these beautiful sheets of water, were 
obliged to search further into the surrounding country for 
the game which formed the staple of life. It became 
customary for these two pioneer bands to meet by appoint- 
ment, every fall of the year, at Gull Lake, or at the con- 
fluence of the Crow Wing with the Mississippi ; and from 
thence to move in one collected camp into the more plenti- 
fully supplied hunting grounds of the Dakotas. 

The camp, consisting of between fifty and a hundred 
light birch bark wigwams, moved by short stages from 
spot to spot, according to the pleasure of the chiefs, or as 
game was found to abound in the greatest plenty. This 
mode of hunting was kept up from the first fall of snow 
at the commencement of winter, to the month of February, 
when the bands again separated, and moved back slowly 
to their respective village sites, to busy themselves with 



the manufacture of sugar, amidst the thick groves of the 
valuable maple which was to be found skirting the lakes 
of which they had taken possession. As a general fact 
the women only occupied themselves in the sugar bushes, 
while the men scattered about in small bands, to hunt the 
furred animals whose pelts at this season of the year were 
considered to be most valuable. When sugar-making was 
over and the ice and snow had once more disappeared 
before the warmth of a spring sun, the scattered wigwams 
of the different bands would once more collect at their 
village sites, and the time for recreation, ball-playing, 
racing, courtship, and war, had once more arrived. If no 
trader had passed the winter amongst them, many of the 
hunters would start off in their birch canoes to visit the 
trading posts on the Great Lakes, to barter their pelts for 
new supplies of clothing, ammunition, tobacco, and fire- 

If any one had lately lost relatives, naturally, or at the 
hands of the Dakotas, now was the proper time to think 
of revenge ; and it is generally at this season of the year 
that war parties of the red men prowled all over the north- 
, western country, searching to shed each other's blood. 

According to invariable custom, the Ojibway mourns 
for a lost relative of near kin, for the space of one year ; 
but there are two modes by which he can, at any time, 
wipe the paint of mourning from his face. The first is 
through the medium of the Meda, or grand medicine, 
which, to an Indian, is a costly ordeal. The next is to go 
to w r ar, and either to kill or scalp an enemy, or besmear a 
relic of the deceased in an enemy's blood. This custom is 
one of their grand stimulants to war, and the writer con- 
siders it as more fruitful of war parties, than the more 
commonly believed motive of satiating revenge, or the love 
of renown. 



The spring of the year is also the favorite time for the 
performance of the sacred grand Meda-we rites. The per- 
son wishing to become an initiate into the secrets of this 
religion, which the old men affirm the Great Spirit gave 
to the red race, prepares himself during the whole winter 
for the approaching ceremony. He collects and dries choice 
meats ; with the choicest pelts he procures of the traders, 
articles for sacrifice, and when spring arrives, having 
chosen his four initiators from the wise old men of his 
village, he places these articles, with tobacco, at their dis- 
posal, and the ceremonies commence. For four nights, the 
medicine drums of the initiators resound throughout the 
village, and their songs and prayers are addressed to the 
master of life. The day that the ceremony is performed, 
is one of jubilee to the inhabitants of the village. Each 
one dons the best clothing he or she possesses, and they vie 
with one another in the paints and ornaments with which 
they adorn their persons, to appear to the best advantage 
within the sacred lodge. 

It is at this season of the year also, in which, while the 
old men are attending to their religious rites, and the 
lovers of glory and renown are silently treading the war 
path, the young men amuse themselves in playing their 
favorite and beautiful game of baug-ah-iid-o-way , w T hich has 
been described in a former chapter, as the game with 
which the Ojibways and Sauks captured Fort Michili- 
macinac in the year 1763. 

The women also, at this season of the year, have their 
amusements. The summer is the season of rest for these 
usual drudges of the wild and lordly red hunters. Their 
time, during this season, is generally spent in making their 
lodge coverings and mats for use during the coming winter, 
and in picking and drying berries. Their hard work, 
however, again commences in the autumn, when the wild 


rice which abounds in many of the northern inland lakes, 
becomes ripe and fit to gather. Then, for a month or 
more, they are busied in laying in their winter's supply. 

When the rice-gathering is over, the autumn is far ad- 
vanced, and by the time each family has secreted their 
rice and other property with which they do not wish to 
be encumbered during the coming winter's march, they 
move once more in a body to the usual rendezvous at Gull 
Lake, or Crow Wing, to search for meat on the dangerous 
hunting grounds of their enemies. In those days which 
we now speak of, game of the larger species was very 
plentiful in this region of country, where now the poor 
Ojibway, depending on his hunt for a living, would liter- 
ally starve to death. 

As an illustration of the kind and abundance of animals 
which then covered the country, it is stated that an Ojib- 
way hunter named Xo-ka, the grandfather of the Chief 
White Fisher, killed in one clay's hunt, starting from the 
mouth of Crow Wing River, sixteen elk, four buffalo, five 
deer, three bear, one lynx, and one porcupine. There 
was a trader wintering at the time at Crow Wing, and for 
his winter's supply of meat, Xo-ka presented him with the 
fruits of this day's hunt. This occurred about sixty-five 
years ago, when traders had become more common to the 
Ojibways of the Upper Mississippi. It is from this old 
warrior and stalwart hunter, who fearlessly passed his 
summers on the string of lakes which form the head of 
the Xo-ka River, which empties into the Mississippi nearly 
opposite the present site of Fort Ripley, that the name of 
this stream is derived. 

Long Prairie, the present site of the Winnebago agency, 
was at this time the favorite winter resort of those bands 
of the Dakota tribe now known as the Warpeton and 
Sisseton. It was in the forests surrounding this isolated 
prairie, that herds of the buffalo and elk took shelter 



from the bleak cold winds which at this season of the year 
blew over the vast western prairies where they were 
accustomed to feed in summer; and here, the Dakotas, 
in concentrated camps of over a hundred lodges, followed 
them to their haunts, and while they preyed on them 
towards the west, the guns of the Ojibways were often 
heard doing likewise towards the east. The hunters of 
the two hostile camps prowled after their game in " fear 
and trembling," and it often happened that a scalp lock 
adorned the belt of the hunter, on his return at evening 
from his day's chase. 

The chiefs of the two camps, and the older warriors 
deeply deprecated this state of affairs, as it resulted only 
in the perpetual u fear and trembling" of their wives and 
children, and caused hunger and want often to prevail in 
camp, even when living in the midst of plenty. Efforts 
were made to bring about a peaceable meeting between the 
two camps, which were at least crowned with success, and 
it soon became customary, let the war rage ever so furiously 
during all other seasons. The pipe of peace was smoked 
each winter at the meeting of the two grand hostile hunt- 
ing camps, and for weeks they would interchange friendly 
visits, and pursue the chase in one another's vicinity, with- 
out fear of harm or molestation. 

The Ojibways assert, that when the two camps first 
neared each other in the fore part of winter, and the 
guns of the enemy whom they had fought all summer, and 
whose scalps probably still graced their lodge poles, were 
heard booming in the distance, towards Long Prairie, they 
were generally the first to make advances for a temporary 
peace, or as they term it in their euphonious language, to 
create ptn-dig-o-d,aud-e-win (signifying, " to enter one an- 
other's lodges"). Their grudge against the Dakotas was 
never so deep seated and strong as that which this tribe 
indulged against them, probably from the fact that their 



losses in their implacable warfare, included not their ancient 
village sites, and the resting places of their ancestors. 

Xo sooner, therefore, than the guns of the Dakotas 
announced their vicinity, than the war chiefs of the Ojib- 
way camp would collect their warriors, and well armed, 
and prepared for battle if necessary, but taking with them 
the sacred peace pipe, they would proceed at once to find 
the enemies' camp. Arrived in sight, they would place the 
bearer of the peace pipe, and the banner carriers in front, 
and march fearlessly into the camp of the Dakotas, pre- 
pared to act according to the manner of their reception. 
The Dakotas, surrounded by their women and children, 
whose safety was dear to them, though probably their 
hearts were filled with gall and thoughts of vengeance, 
never refused on these occasions to run out of their lodges 
and salute the Ojibways with the firing of guns, and in 
great ceremony to smoke from the stem of their proffered 
peace pipe. During these first and sudden salutations, it 
is told that bullets often whizzed close by the ears of the 
Ojibways, as if their new friends were shooting to try how 
near they could come to the mark without actually hitting. 
When the peace party has been few in numbers, and the 
camp of the enemy large, it has been only through the 
most strenuous efforts of the wiser warriors, that blood has 
not been shed. The first excitement once over, and the 
peace pipe smoked, the Dakotas, smoothing down their 
angry looks, would invite the Ojibways into their lodges, 
and feast them with the best they possessed. 

In this manner were the returns of temporary peace 
effected between these two warlike people. And when 
once the " good road" had been broken in this manner, 
interchanges of friendly visits would become common, and 
it often happened that during the winter's intercourse of 
the two camps, a Dakota chief or warrior taking a fancy 
to an Ojibway, would exchange presents with him, and 



adopt him as a brother. This the Ojibways would also do. 
These adopted ties of relationship were most generally 
contracted by such as had lost relations in the course of 
their feud, and who, in this manner, sought to till the void 
which death had made in the ranks of his dearest friends. 

These ties, temporary and slight as they may seem, were 
much regarded by these people, and it has often happened 
in the course of their ever renewed warfare, that Ojibway 
and Dakota has saved the life of an adopted brother in times 
of trouble, of massacre, and battle ; and whenever these 
ties have been disregarded or grossly violated, the occur- 
rence is told in their lodge tales, in terms to teach the 
rising generation never to do likewise. 

In the course of their history, there are many instances 
in which these temporary lulls of peace have been suddenly 
broken by some one or more foolish young men of either 
tribe, taking advantage of the security in which their 
former enemy temporarily reposed, and taking the life of 
some stray hunter. The most important of these instances 
and those to which the direct consequences have accrued, 
will be related in the future course of our narrative. 

Illustrative of the manner in which these peace lulls 
were generally broken, and of the strong propensity exist- 
ing in the Indian character for revenge, I will here intro- 
duce a tale which I obtained from the lips of Esh-ke-bug- 
e-coshe, the chief of the Pillagers : 


Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, the present living chief of the Pil- 
lagers, 1 relates of his deceased father, whose name was Wa- 
son-aun-e-qua (signifying, "Yellow Hair'"), that he was not 
a chief by hereditary descent, but that he gained a gradual 
ascendency over the minds of the fearless Pillagers, through 

1 A. D. 1852. 



his supreme knowledge of medicine, especially such as 
destroyed life. He possessed a most vindictive and revenge- 
ful temper. Injury was never inflicted on him, but he 
retaliated twofold ; and it is said that persons who fell 
beneath his displeasure, lost their lives in a sudden and 
unaccountable manner. His people feared him ; and he 
came to be treated with the greatest respect and first con- 
sideration. It happened one winter, that the allied camps 
of the Pillagers and Sandy Lake band met the camp of the 
Dakotas at Long Prairie, and as it had become usual, a 
temporary peace was effected. During the friendly inter- 
course which ensued between the two tribes, a Dakota 
warrior of some note, belonging to the War-pe-ton 
band, gave presents to Yellow Hair, and requested to be 
termed his brother. The presents were accepted, and 
these two warriors of hostile tribes treated one another as 
brethren, during the course of the whole winter. Yellow 
Hair had partly learned to speak the language of his 
adopted brother, having formerly taken to wife, a Dakota 
captive woman, and he now learned to speak it with greater 
ease and fluency. A lasting peace was discussed between 
the elders of the two camps, and a mutual understanding 
was made between them to meet in peace during the sum- 
mer, at certain points on the Mississippi River. 

As the time for making sugar approached, the camps of 
the two tribes separated, in peace and good-will, and they 
moved slowly back, each to their village. It happened 
that Yellow Hair remained behind the main camp of his 
people, for the purpose of hunting a few days longer in the 
vicinity of Long Prairie. His camp, consisting of four 
lodges, was located on the woody shores of a little lake, 
which lay partly embosomed in a deep forest, while one 
end barely peeped out on the smooth and open prairie. 

On the ice of this lake, the boys of the four lodges were 
accustomed to go out and play, throwing before them their 



shosh-e-mans, or little snow slides, and as no fear of an 
enemy prevailed in the breasts of their parents, they were 
allowed to go thither, whenever they listed. One morning, 
after Yellow Hair had started on his usual day's hunt, and 
the mother of his children was attending to her within- 
door duties, a plaintive moaning was heard at the door of 
the lodge, and the mother, rushing forth, beheld the out- 
stretched form of her oldest boy, painfully crawling home- 
wards through the snow, bleeding and scalpless ! The 
Dakotas had done it ! The anguish cry of the mother soon 
gathered the inmates of the surrounding lodges to her side, 
and with streaming eyes the women lifted the wounded 
and mutilated boy into the parents' wigwam — then rush- 
ing to the lake on the bloody track which marked his 
course homewards, they beheld their children, three in 
number, lying dead and mangled, where the tomahawks of 
the Dakotas had struck them down. 

The Ojibway hunter returned at evening from his day's 
chase, in time to witness the last death struggle of his 
murdered boy, his eldest son. He listened to the bloody 
tale in silence — no tear dimmed his eye, for the feelings 
which harrowed his heart could not be satisfied with such 
a vent. The stem of his pipe seldom left his strongly 
compressed lips the whole of that night, and the vehe- 
mence with which he smoked, was the only outward sign 
he gave of his emotions. 

Early in the morning, the camp was raised, and they 
moved in the direction of Leech Lake, taking with them 
the corpses of the murdered children. When he had 
reached the village site of his people, and placed the body 
of his boy in its last resting place, Yellow Hair, with five 
comrades, returned on his trail to seek the murderers of 
his child. At Crow Wing they found the Sandy Lake 
Ojibways still collected, moving but slowly towards their 
village. It was not difficult for their fellows to divine 



their errand, for the treacherous massacre of their children 
was the common topic on every one's lips. It was, how- 
ever, supposed that the Moody deed had been perpetrated 
by the prairie Dakotas, who had not been present at the 
peace meetings which had taken place during the winter 
between the hunting camps of the Ojibways and Warpeton, 
or lower Dakotas. 

Under this impression, the chiefs of the Sandy Lake 
camp, invited Yellow Hair and his five followers to council, 
and endeavored by every argument, to dissuade them from 
following the war-path, as they felt anxious to keep up the 
peace with the Dakotas. Arguments and speeches, how- 
ever, appeared to produce no effect, and as a last resort, 
presents were given them sufficient, in Indian custom and 
parlance, to " cover the graves of their dead children." The 
determination of Yellow Hair, was, however, inflexible, but 
as he perceived that his movements would be watched, he 
at last silently accepted the presents, and left the camp on 
his homeward track, pretending to have given up his 
bloody designs. When arrived at a sufficient distance 
from the camp to prevent an early discovery of the new 
trail he w T as about to make, he left the beaten road, and 
turning back, he avoided the camp, and proceeded towards 
Long Prairie. From this place he followed up the return 
trail of the Dakota hunting camp, hoping to catch up 
with, and wreak his vengeance on them, before they 
reached their villages. Arrived at Sauk Lake, he discov- 
ered a small trail to branch off from the main and deeply 
beaten path which he had been following. This he 
followed, and he soon discovered that those who moved on 
it consisted of but two lodges, and every one of their old 
encampments, which the eager warriors passed, proved to 
them that they were fast nearing their prey. 

On the head waters of Crow River, nearly tw T o hundred 
miles from the point of his departurc,Yellow Hair at last 



caught up with the two lodges of his enemies. At the 
first peep of dawn in the morning, the Dakotas were 
startled from their quiet slumbers by the fear-striking 
Ojibway war-whoop, and as the men arose to grasp their 
arms, and the women and children jumped up in affright, 
the bullets of the enemy fell amongst them, causing wounds 
and death. After the first moments of surprise, the men 
of the Dakotas returned the fire of the enemy, and for 
many minutes the fight raged hotly. An interval in the 
incessant firing at last took place, and the voice of a Dakota, 
apparently wounded, called out to the Ojibways, "Alas! 
why is it that I die ? I thought my road was clear before 
and behind me, and that the skies were cloudless above 
me. My mind dwelt only on good, and blood was not in 
my thoughts." 

Yellow Hair recognized the voice of the warrior who 
had agreed to be his adopted brother during the late peace 
between their respective tribes. He understood his words, 
but his wrong was great, and his heart had become as hard 
as flint. He answered : " My brother, I too thought that the 
; skies were cloudless above me, and I lived without fear ; 
but a wolf came and destroyed my young ; he tracked 
from the country of the Dakotas. My brother, for this 
you die !" 

u My brother, I knew it not," answered the Dakota- — 
" it was none of my people, but the wolves of the prairies." 

The Ojibway warrior now quietly filled and lit his pipe, 
and while he smoked, the silence was only broken by the 
groans of the wounded, and the suppressed wail of bereaved 
mothers. Having* finished his smoke, he laid aside his 
pipe, and once more he called out to the Dakotas : 

" My brother, have you still in your lodge a child who 
will take the place of my lost one, whom your wolves have 
devoured ? I have come a great distance to behold once 



more my young as I once beheld him, and I return not on 
my tracks till I am satisfied !" 

The Dakotas, thinking that he wished for a captive to 
adopt instead of his deceased child, and happy to escape 
certain destruction at such a cheap sacrifice, took one of 
the surviving children, a little girl, and decking it with 
such finery and ornaments as they possessed, they sent her 
out to the covert of the Ojibway warrior. The innocent 
little girl came forward, but no sooner was she within 
reach of the avenger, than he grasped her by the hair of 
the head and loudly exclaiming — " I sent for thee that T 
might do with you as your people did to my child. I 
wish to behold thee as I once beheld him," he deliberately 
scalped her alive, and sent her shrieking back to her 
agonized parents. 

After this cold-blooded act, the fight was renewed with 
great fury. Yellow Hair rushed desperately forward, and 
by main force he pulled down one of the Dakota lodges. As 
he did so, the wounded warrior, his former adopted brother, 
discharged his gun at his breast, which the active and 
wary Ojibway adroitly dodging, the contents killed one of 
his comrades who had followed him close at his back. INot 
a being in that Dakota lodge survived ; the other, being 
bravely defended, was left standing; and Yellow Hair, 
with his four surviving companions, returned homeward, 
their vengeance fully glutted, and having committed a deed 
which ever after became the topic of the lodge circles of 
their people. 





A French trader whom the Ojibways came " the Blacksmith" builds a cabin, 
and winters at the mouth of Pena River, which empties into the Crow Winer 
— He is attacked by two hundred Dakotas — The Dakotas, being- armed 
mostly with bows and arrows, are finally repulsed with loss — Two French- 
men are wounded. 

Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, the old chieftain of the Pillagers, 
who is now 1 beyond his seventieth year, relates that when 
he was a small hoy, not yet able to handle a gun, he was 
present at a trading house located at the confluence of Pat- 
ridge, or Pe-na River, with the Crow Wing, when it was 
attacked by a large war party of Dakotas. The different 
circumstances of this transaction appear still fresh and 
clear in the old man's memory, and as he is one of the few 
Indian story tellers who is not accustomed to exaggerate, 
and in whose accounts perfect reliance can be placed, I 
have thought the tale worthy of insertion here, from notes 
carefully taken at the time I first heard the old chief relate 
it, as an important incident in the course of his adven- 
turous and checkered life. 

The trading house had been built late in the fall by a 
French trader whom the Indians designated with the name 
of Ah-wish-to-yah, meaning, a Blacksmith. He had ven- 
turously pitched his winter's quarters in the heart of the 
best hunting grounds on lands at that time still claimed 
by the Dakotas, but on which the Pillagers were now 
accustomed to make their fall and winter hunts, undeterred 
by the fear of their enemies, with whom they continually 

i A. D. 1852. 



came in deadly contact, while engaged in the pursuit of 
the game whose fur procured them the merchandise of the 

Being located in a dangerous neighborhood, the trader 
had erected a rude fence, or barrier of logs, around his 
dwelling, and the cluster of Indian wigwams containing 
the women and children of his hunters, which stood a few 
rods from his door, w r ere also surrounded with felled trees 
and brush, as a defence against the sudden midnight 
attack which at any moment they might expect from the 
Dakotas. Ten hunters had left their families at the camp 
some days previous, to go and trap beaver which abounded 
in the vicinity. One night, long before they were ex- 
pected back, they startled the inmates of the wigwams and 
trading house from their quiet slumbers, by their sudden 
arrival. They reported the approach of two hundred 
Dakotas, who would doubtless attack the party, as they 
had ever proved enemies to the whites who traded with 
the Ojibways, and supplied them with the guns and ammu- 
nition which made them such able opponents, and who 
thus gave them the means and power of possessing their 
best hunting grounds. 

The ten hunters had, the day previous to their sudden 
arrival at the camp, discovered the trail of the enem}*, 
over which the peculiar odor of their tobacco smoke still 
lingered, discernible to the keen sense of the hunter's nos- 
trils, denoting that the party had but just passed on the 
trail. The course of the Dakotas led directly towards a 
small hunting camp w 7 hich was perfectly defenceless, and 
w r hich contained the relatives of the ten hunters, who 
determined, if possible, to save them from certain destruc- 
tion. In order to effect their purpose, they concluded to 
turn the course of the war party towards the trading house, 
w T here from behind the defences, they hoped to beat them 
otF, while at the same time the report of their guns would 


warn the scattered hunters in the vicinity, of danger, and 
collect them to their succor. In order to effect this plan, 
the ten hunters made a circuit and heading the Dakotas 
during the night, while encamped, they crossed their 
course at right angles, and proceeded straight towards the 
trading house, judging that in the morning, when the war 
party fell across their tracks (as they would certainly do), 
they would eagerly follow them up. The hunters had 
marched all night, and were consequently several hours 
in advance of the enemy. These hours were employed by 
the trader and his people in strengthening the barriers 
around the house. The trees and logs were hauled by 
main force from around the wigwams, and piled on the 
defences, and the women, with the children (among whom 
was the narrator), were invited to take shelter within the 

The Indian hunters, together with the trader and 
several " coureurs du bois," numbered nearly twenty men, 
capable of bearing arms in defence of the post, against a 
party judged, by the depth and size of their trail, to num- 
ber two hundred warriors. 

The preparations of the Ojibways and their white allies 
had hardly been completed, when the enemy made their 
appearance, on the opposite banks of the river. They 
leisurely made their usual preparations for battle by adorn- 
ing their persons with paints, feathers, and ornaments ; 
and relying on their numbers, they bravely crossed the 
stream on the ice, and commenced the attack on the trad- 
ing house by discharging clouds of barbed arrows, accom- 
panied w r ith a terrific yelling of the war-whoop. Their 
comparatively harmless missiles were promptly answered 
with death-winged bullets, by the trader and his hunters, 
and such of the Dakotas as approached too near the wooden 
wall, suffered for their temerity. 

The western, or prairie, Dakotas had not as yet generally 



become possessed of the fatal fire-arm, and on this occasion, 
in the whole party of two hundred warriors, they hardly 
numbered half a dozen guns. They fought with the bow 
and arrow, and in this consisted the safety and salvation of 
the twenty Ojibway hunters and Frenchmen who fought 
against such immense odds, and who, being all supplied 
with fire-arms, easily kept off' their numerous assailants. 

The only manner in which they were annoyed was by 
the enemy's shooting their arrow* into the air in such a 
manner as to fall directly into the inclosure, on the heads 
of its defenders. The more timid were thus forced to re- 
treat into the house for shelter, as for many minutes, the 
barbed arrows fell as thick as snowfiakes, and two of the 
hunters being severely wounded, were disabled from fur- 
ther fighting. 

Having exhausted their arrows without materially les- 
sening the destructive fire of the Ojibways and Frenchmen, 
the Dakotas having lost a number of their men, finally re- 
treated, first dragging away their dead, whom they threw 
into holes made in the ice, to prevent their being scalped. 

Shortly after their departure, the hunters in the vicinity 
of the trading house, who had heard the firing attendant 
on the late fight, arrived one after another to the scene of 
action, till, at sunset, forty men had collected, all eager for 
pursuing the retreating enemy. The trader, however, 
humanely dissuaded them from the enterprise, and as they 
had lost no lives in the late attack, they were the more 
easily persuaded to forego their intent. 

J. B. cadotte's trading expedition. 




John Baptiste Cadotte — His early career as an Indian trader — He organizes a 
large trading expedition to explore the sources of the Mississippi — He win- 
ters on Leaf River and is attacked by the Dakotas — Peace effected and he visits 
the camp of his enemies to trade — Treachery of the Dakotas— A division of 
Cadotte's party winter at Prairie Portage, on Red River, and another at Pem- 
bina — Trouble with the Dakotas at Prairie Portage — Return of the Expe- 
dition by way of Rainy Lake and Pigeon River — Arrival at Grand Portage 
— Northwest Fur Company proceed to occupy the Upper Mississippi coun- 
try — They locate a depot at Fond du Lac — They build stockaded posts at 
Sandy Lake and at Leech Lake — Occupation of Red Lake by the Ojibways 
dated from this Expedition— Death of Negro Tom. 

The great Basin covered with innumerable lakes and 
streams, from which the Mississippi, flowing into the Gulf 
of Mexico, and Red River, flowing into Hudson's Bay, 
take their rise, was first fully opened to the enterprise of 
the old northwestern fur traders, by John Baptiste Cadotte, 
a son of the Mons. Cadotte, who is so ofteu mentioned in 
the earliest era of the white man's intercourse with the 
Ojibways, and who figures so prominently in the simple 
but truthful narrative of Alexander Henry. 

John Baptiste Cadotte 1 received a college education at 
Montreal. He was anions; the first individuals whose 
European, or white blood, became intermixed with the 
blood of the Ojibways. On leaving college, he became 
possessed of forty thousand francs which had been be- 
queathed to him by his father, and with this sum as a 
capital, he immediately launched into the northwestern 

1 A record of the Cadotte family from parish and other records is given in 
another article in this volume. — E. D. N. 



fur trade. He wintered on the Bay of Shag-a-waum-ik- 
ong, and made large returns of beaver skins to the mar- 
ket at Montreal. His careless and spendthrift habits, 
however, and open-handedness and generosity to his Indian 
relatives, soon caused him to run through with his capital 
and profits of his trade. Unable to raise an equipment on 
his own account, he applied for help to Alexander Henry, 
who had traded in partnership with his deceased father, 
and who still, from his establishment at Montreal, con- 
tinued in the fur trade. Henry provided him with a large 
equipment for an expedition, which Cadotte proposed to 
make to the headwaters of the Mississippi, where beaver 
were reported to abound in great plenty. 

The ferocity of the Xaud-o-wa-se, or Dakotas, who still 
kept possession of this region of country, battling stoutly 
for it against the persevering pressure of the Ojibway hun- 
ters, was the theme of every lip at Montreal, Mackinaw, 
and Sault Ste. Marie, and deterred many an enterprising- 
trader from proceeding to winter on these dangerous 
grounds. The few enterprising men who had risked these 
dangers from time to time, had been attacked by the Da- 
kotas, and the pillage of the sick trader by the Ojibways, 
which has given the distinctive name of Pillagers to an 
important division of this tribe, also contributed greatly 
to shut up this, then almost unknown, region of country 
to the enterprise of the fur trader. 

Cadotte, noted for courage and fearlessness, easily formed 
a- large party, consisting of traders, "coureurs du bois,"' 
trappers, and a few Iroquois Indians, who had assumed the 
habits and learned to perform the labor, of Canadian "voy- 
ageurs," to accompany him on an expedition to these 
dangerous regions. Besides his own immediate engagees 
and servitors, the party consisted of the trader Reyaulm 
and his men ; Pickette, Roberts, and Bell, with their men 
fully equipped for trading and trapping. Altogether they 

cadotte's expedition to leaf river. 


numbered sixty men, among whom was also a younger 
brother of Cadotte, named Michel, who managed an outfit 
on his own account. 

This large party started from Sault Ste. Marie late in 
the summer, in large birch bark canoes, of over a ton bur- 
then each, which were then denominated " Canoe du mai- 
tre," and made expressly for the fur trade, they being com- 
paratively light and easily carried across portages on the 
shoulders of the " coureurs du bois." Cadotte coasted 
along the southern shores of Lake Superior, and proceeded 
to Fond du Lac, its extreme head. He entered the St. 
Louis River, and packing their canoes and equipments 
over the nine-mile, or "grand portage/'' which leads around 
the tremendous rapids and falls on this river, they poled 
up its rapid current, and proceeded by the old or prairie 
portage route, into Sandy Lake. From this point, my in- 
formants differ as to which route the party took. Some 
state, that they ascended the Mississippi to Leech Lake, 
crossed over to Cass Lake by a short portage, proceeded 
to Red Lake, thence into Red River, up which stream 
they proceeded a short distance and finally located their 
winter quarters at " Prairie portage," where they were met 
by two traders who had come by the Grand Portage, or 
Rainy Lake route, one of whom was Cameron, 1 noted as 
being among the earliest pioneers into these then remote 
northwestern regions. This is the account as given by 
Mr. Bruce, a half-breed Ojibway who was born at Grand 
Portage on Lake Superior, and is now seventy-eight years 
of age,- still possessing a perfect and surprising memory. 
He was a young man at the time of this celebrated expe- 
dition, and wintered the same year of its occurrence, as an 
engagee,at a small trading post on Great Lake, Winnipeg, 

1 For a notice of Cameron see " History of Ojibways based upon official and 
oilier records" which follows Warren's History in this volume.— E. D. >\ 



and made, on a small outfit, the enormous returns of forty- 
eight packs of beaver skins, showing the great abundance 
of this valuable animal in those times, in these northern 

Madame Cadotte, relict of Michel Cadotte, who is men- 
tioned as having joined this party, and who is. now nearly 
ninety years of age, relates that she, with many other 
women of the party, were left to winter at Fond du Lac, 
as their husbands were going into a dangerous region, and 
did not wish to be encumbered with women. Her son, 
Michel Cadotte, Jr., now living at La Pointe, and aged 
sixty-one years, was then in his cradle. This old woman's 
memory is still good, and she gives the following account 
of the progress and adventures of the party after they 
reached Sandy Lake : — 

They proceeded down the Mississippi to the forks or 
entry of Crow Wing River, which they ascended, and cold 
weather overtaking them at the mouth of Leaf River, 
which empties into the Crow Wing, and discovering here 
numerous signs of beaver, and it, also, being as far as they 
dare proceed into the country of the tierce and warlike 
Dakotas, Mons. Cadotte located his winter quarters, and 
set his men immediately to work in erecting log huts suf- 
ficient to hold his whole party and his winter supplies. 
The country was then covered with game, such as buffalo, 
elk, bear, and deer, and the hunters soon collected a suffi- 
cient, quantity of meat for their winter's consumption. 
Signs* of the vicinity of the much dreaded Dakotas being 
discovered, Cadotte ordered a log fence or wall to be 
thrown up around his cabins for a defence against any 
attack which these people, on whose hunting grounds he 
w T as encroaching, might think proper to make on him. 

In those days, Leech Lake was considered as the 
extreme northwestern frontier of the Ojibway country, and 
but a few hardy and fearless hunters, who had already 



earned the name of Pillagers, remained permanently located 
on the islands of the lake, for greater security against the 
oft-repeated attacks and incursions of their enemies. Happy 
to hunt on the rich hunting grounds of the Dakotas, under 
the protection of such a large party of white traders, the 
Pillager and Sandy Lake hunters moved in their wake, 
and lay scattered ahout in different winter camps, in the 
vicinity of their winter quarters, carrying on, with the 
different traders, an active barter of furs for their merchan- 

When all the preparations for passing the winter com- 
fortably and safely had been completed, the trappers were 
sent out in small parties, to pursue their winter's avocation, 
wherever they discovered the wigwams of the industrious 
but fated beaver to abound in the greatest plenty. Cadotte, 
was left with but few men at the winter quarters, when 
early one morning a large party of Dakota warriors made 
their appearance, arrayed and painted for battle. They 
approached the wall which surrounded the log cabins, 
leaping from side to side and yelling their war-whoop, and 
when arrived within bullet range they discharged a cloud 
of arrows, and such few as were armed with guns fired upon 
the white man's defences. Two of Cadotte's men were 
slightly wounded from the repeated discharges and volleys 
of the enemy, yet he desisted from returning their fire, and 
commanded his exasperated men not to fight. His numbers 
being feeble, he could not be certain as to the result of a 
battle, and at the same time being anxious to conciliate 
and be at peace with the Dakotas, for the sake of their 
trade, he determined to make a trial to disarm their enmity. 
He ordered the British flag to be planted on his defences, 
and hoping that his assailants might understand its import, 
he hung out a white flag on a pole. His hopes were not 
disappointed, for as soon as the flags were fully displayed, 
the enemy ceased firing, and after a short consultation 



among themselves, a number of their warriors cautiously ap- 
proached the defences which surrounded the traders' cabins. 

Mons. Cadotte, standing in his gateway, informed them, 
through a " coureur du bois" named Basle, who could 
speak the Dakota tongue, that " he had not come into their 
country to make war on them, but to supply them with 
necessaries in exchange for their furs.*' The Dakotas re- 
plied to the effect, that, considering them to be a party of 
Ojibways interloping on their best hunting grounds, they 
had collected their warriors to destroy them ; but as they 
had now discovered them to be white men, with whom 
they wished to be friends, they would shake hands with 
them, and smoke with them from the same pipe, intimat- 
ing that they wished to enter within his dwelling. 

Cadotte, who possessed a perfect knowledge of Indian 
character, perceived at once the necessity of complying 
with their request, for the purpose of proving to them that 
he confided in their words, and to show to them that he 
feared them not. He therefore opened his gate, and 
allowed the chiefs and principal men to fill his cabin, where 
he held a short council with them, while his men vigilantly 
guarded the defences, and keenly watched the movements 
of the numerous Dakota warriors, who stood outside. He 
gave the Dakotas presents of tobacco and ammunition, and 
he distributed amongst them meat sufficient for a meal. 
In return, they welcomed him with apparent cordiality to 
their country, and invited him to go back with them to 
their winter camp, where they told of possessing many 
beaver skins. 

Cadotte, placing confidence in their expressions of good- 
will, determined to accept their invitation. Most of his, 
men, who were hunting in the vicinity of his trading 
house, had now arrived, having heard the report of the 
Dakota guns, as they made their attack in the morning. 
The Indians, only, kept aloof for fear of the enemy. 



He selected thirty of his hest men, well-armed, and giv- 
ing them packs of goods to carry, at their head, he accom- 
panied the Dakotas back to their camp, which they reached 
at the distance of one day's march. They found the camp 
to number over one hundred lodges, formed of leather. 
They were well received, and entertained with the choicest 
portions of the buffalo, elk, and bear meat, which abounded 
in every lodge. Cadotte was himself installed in the chiefs 
more extensive lodge, where the whole night long he car- 
ried on an active trade, as one after the other, warriors, 
.hunters, and women, entered to exchange their furs for 
such articles as they needed, or such trinkets as struck 
their fancy. He soon collected as many packs of beaver 
and other fur as his men could well carry away. Not- 
withstanding his brisk trade, many of the goods still re- 
mained on his hands, and Cadotte could not help but 
notice the covetous looks which the chief and his warriors 
cast on these as he ordered his men to bale them into packs 
in order to carry away. 

In the morning, after the Dakotas had again feasted and 
smoked with them, the trader prepared to depart. The 
Dakota chief insisted on accompanying him a part of the 
way with a guard of his warriors, as a mark of honor and 
respect, and Cadotte, unable to resist his importunities, at 
last accepted the offer of his company, and together they 
left the camp. The Dakotas, nearly equal in number to 
themselves, led the van, and in this order they travelled, 
occasionally making short halts to smoke and rest, till they 
reached about half the distance to their trading house, 
when, just as they were about to enter a heavy clump ot 
trees and thickets, through which winded their path, the 
Dakota chief and his men suddenly stopped, sat down on 
the roadside, and prepared to till their pipes, requesting 
their white brothers to take their turn and go ahead, while 



they, being light, would take a smoke, and soon catch up 
with them. 

Mons. Cadotte, perfectly unsuspicious, followed the wishes 
of the chief, and at the head of his men, he was leading 
off, when his interpreter, Rasle, approached and remarked 
to him, that he suspected treachery. lie had noticed 
in the morning when they started to leave the camp, that 
all the men hut those who accompanied them, had disap- 
peared, and also that they had been holding secret councils 
in different lodges during the whole night. Rasle further 
intimated that the heavy clump of trees through which 
they were about to pass, being the only spot on the route 
adapted to an ambuscade, he suspected that men, who had 
so early made their disappearance from the camp, had been 
sent ahead to here lay in wait and surprise them, while 
the chief, with his pretended guard, would attack in the 
rear, as his present movement and request for them to go 
ahead plainly indicated. The truth of these suspicions 
flashed through Cadotte's mind, and being of an impulsive 
nature, he instantly ordered his men to throw down their 
packs, and prepare for instant action. Then suddenly ap- 
proaching the chief, who was now quietly smoking his 
pipe, he cocked his gun, and presented it to his breast, tell- 
ing Kasle to say to him, that " he saw through his treach- 
ery, and that he would be the first to suffer death, unless 
he ordered his warriors to give up their arms, and also 
cleared the path he was travelling, of the men whom he 
had sent ahead to waylay him." 

The chief at first stoutly denied the charge, but when 
he saw Cadotte's men forcibly take the arms out of the 
hands of his chosen warriors, whom they outnumbered, he 
burst into tears, and begged for his life, and the lives of 
his men. This being assured in case the ambuscade 
amongst the trees ahead would disperse, the chief sent one 
of his disarmed warriors thither, and a few moments after, 



a large body of painted warriors emerged from the wood, 
and quietly marched off in single file across the wide 
prairie towards their camp. The treacherous chief, with 
his guard, were taken by Cadotte to his post, and kept as 
hostages, till he could collect and warn his scattered trap- 
pers jtnd Pillager hunters, against feeling too secure, in the 
idea that a firm peace had been effected with the Dakotas. 
When this had been effected, the post more fully manned, 
and every man been put on his guard, the chieftain with 
his men were allowed to go home, once more loaded with 
tobacco and presents, in hopes that his people would appre- 
ciate the kindness and forbearance of their white neighbors. 

Mons. Cadotte's party remained at this post all winter, 
and they received no more molestation from the Dakotas, 
who did not thereafter even make their appearance in the 
vicinity of their hunting range. In the spring, after the 
snow had disappeared, and the ice melted on the lakes and 
rivers, these adventurers evacuated their winter quarters, 
and proceeding up Leaf River in their canoes, they made 
a portage into Otter Tail Lake, and descended from thence 
down the Red River. 

The variance in the different accounts which have been 
given to me of this expedition, lies mostly in different 
spots being mentioned where the party are said to have 
wintered, and different routes having been taken to reach 
these spots. I am disposed to account for these disagree- 
ments, in the accounts of persons whose memory and ve- 
racity cannot well be questioned, by assuming the ground 
that the party, consisting of several different traders, each 
with his own equipment of supplies and men, must have 
separated at Sandy Lake, and while one party proceeded 
(as has been mentioned) up the Mississippi to Red Lake, 
and wintering at Prairie Portage, and at Pembina, the 
other party under Cadotte in person, took their course 




down the Mississippi, and underwent the adventures 
which we have related. 

It is stated, that at Prairie Portage, after the traders 
had all again collected in the spring, the Dakotas in large 
numbers made demonstrations to fall upon and pillage 
them, and the only manner in which the whites succeeded 
in intimidating them to forego their designs, was to heap 
their remaining powder kegs into a pile in the centre of 
their camp, and threatening to set fire to them the moment 
the Dakotas attempted to pillage. At Pembina the party 
were obliged to make new canoes of elk and buffalo hides, 
the seams of which, thickly covered with tallow, made 
them nearly as water-tight as birch canoes. In these they 
descended the current of the Red River, and returned to 
Lake Superior by the Great Lake "Winnipeg, a northern 
route. At Rainy Lake they made birch-bark canoes, in 
which, late in the summer, they reached Grand Portage, the 
principal northwestern depot of the Xorthwest Company. 
The accounts which they gave of the country which they 
had explored, induced this rich company immediately to 
extend their operations throughout its whole extent, and 
this portion of their trade became known as the Fond du 
Lac department. The depot, or collecting point, was 
built at Fond du Lac, near the entry of the St. Louis River, 
and this post, or "Fort," was surrounded with strong 
cedar pickets. The remains of this old establishment are 
still plainly visible. In 1796, the Xorthwest Company 
built a stockaded post at Sandy Lake, and soon after, they 
located another at Leech Lake. These were the immediate 
results of Cadotte's expedition, and from that period, now 
sixty years ago, the Ojibways of the Upper Mississippi 
River have been constantly supplied with resident traders, 
and their former periodical visits to Sault Ste. Marie and 
Mackinaw ceased almost entirely. 



Wa-won-je-gnon, the aged and intelligent chief of the 
Red Lake band of the Ojibways, states, that from this ex- 
pedition can be dated the settlement of Red Lake by the 
Ojibways. He also states that the traders on this occasion, 
made a minute exploration of the lake and sounded the 
depth of its waters. In the deepest portions they discov- 
ered it to be but eight fathoms. 

There is living at Red Lake an aged Indian, whose 
name is Bow-it-ig-o-win-in, signifying " Sault Ste. Marie 
man," who first came into the country as an engage to 
Mons. Cadotte during tfiis voyage, and has remained in it 
ever since, having married and raised a family of children. 
So far as I can learn, this old Indian is now the only sur- 
vivor of the sixty men who are said to have formed the 
party. An incident is currently related among the north- 
ern Ojibways, which is said to have happened while Ca- 
dotte's party were wintering on Leaf River. Mr. Bell, 
one of the traders or clerks associated with him, kept in 
his employ a gigantic negro, whose name was " Tom."' Mr. 
Bell himself was a small and feebly constituted man, but 
of very irritable disposition, especially when under the 
influence of liquor. One evening he quarrelled with his 
negro Tom, and both being somewhat intoxicated, they 
grappled in mortal strife. The huge negro easily threw 
his master on the floor, and pressing him forcibly down, he 
unmercifully and dreadfully beat him with his fists. Mr. 
Bell's Indian wife was sitting by a table making moccasins, 
and held in her hand a penknife which she was occasionally 
using. Seeing the hopeless situation of her husband, she 
ran to his rescue, and stabbed the negro with her penknife 
till she killed him. 






He becomes connected with the Northwest Fur Company — He takes charge of 
the Fond du Lac Department on shares — An incident at Grand Portage — A 
"coureur du bois" is killed by an Indian at Lake Shatac— Cadotte takes 
the matter in hand — The murderer is delivered into his hands — He, is tried 
by a jury of clerks and sentenced to death — Manner of his execution — His 
punishment has a salutary effect on the Ojibways. 

John Baptiste Cadotte returned to Montreal from his 
northwestern expedition, and soon expended in dissipation 
the profits on the large return of furs he had made. lie 
became, moreover, so deeply indebted to Alexander Henry, 
who continued to supply his wants, that at last his credit 
with this gentleman became impaired, and he was obliged 
once more to exert himself towards gaining a livelihood. 
His expedition to the sources of the Mississippi had ren- 
dered him known as a man of great fearlessness and hardi- 
hood, and his abilities as a clerk and Indian trader were 
such that it was no difficult matter for him, when so dis- 
posed, to find employment. The Northwest Far Company 
secured his services at once, and he applied himself with 
so much vigor and energy towards advancing their inte- 
rests, that he soon obtained the esteem and fullest confi- 
dence of all the principal partners of this rich and prosper- 
ous firm. 

At a dinner given by Mr. Alex. Henry, at Montreal, to 
the several partners of the Northwest Company, among 
whom was Sir Alexander McKenzie, Cadotte's name be- 
ing mentioned in the course of conversation, this gentleman, 
who was then the principal northern agent of the firm, 
took occasion to speak of him in the highest terms, prais- 
ing the courage and fearlessness with which he had pierced 



amongst the more wild and unruly tribes of the north- 
western Indians, and the great tact which he used in 
obtaining the love and confidence of the Ojibways. 

Mr. Henry, perceiving that Cadotte possessed the confi- 
dence of his employers, and that his services were held by 
them in great value, took occasion to make the proposition 
to Sir Alex. McKenzie, of selling him Mons. Cadotre's 
indebtedness at a liberal discount. McKenzie informed 
him that he had discovered Cadotte to be a man extremely 
careless in his expenditures, and who made it a point to 
live up fully to his means, whatever amount those means 
might be, and that, it would be extremely difficult to collect 
from him such an amount of debt as Mr. Henry proposed to 
transfer against him, and also that he could not assume <>r 
buy it, without a consultation with the other partners of 
the company. Further urging on the part of Mr. Henry 
at last induced Mr. McKenzie to buy up Mons. Cadotte's 
debt on his own private account. He paid but three hun- 
dred pounds, being less than half of its actual amount. 
This arrangement was kept secret from Mons. Cadotte, as 
the partner concerned knew him to be a man of impulsive 
feelings, and it was uncertain in what light he would con- 
sider such a discount being made on his credit, which 
reflected so strongly on his honor, on which he was known 
to pride himself. In order to give him an opportunity of 
retrieving his fortunes, and paying his debts, the Xorth- 
west Fur Company proposed to give him the entire Fond da 
Lac department on shares. They agreed to give him such 
an equipment as he wanted, and this important division of 
their trade was to be entirely under his management and 

Mons. Cadotte accepted this fair offer, as it gave him a 
broad field for the full development of his capacities, and 
an excellent opportunity to replenish his empty purse. 
The Fond du Lac department comprised all the country 



about the sources of the Mississippi, the St. Croix, and 
Chippeway rivers. The depot was located at Fond du 
Lac, about two miles within the entry of the St. Louis 
River, in what is now the State of Wisconsin. A stock- 
aded post had been built the previous year at Sandy Lake, 
and smaller posts were located at Leech Lake, on the St. 
Croix and at Lac Coutereille. 

Mons. Cadotte procured his outfit of goods for all these 
posts, at the grand northern depot of the Xorthwest Com- 
pany located at Grand Portage, near the mouth of Pigeon 
River, and within the limits of what is now known as 
Minnesota Territory. He had busily employed himself 
all one morning, in loading his canoes, with his outfit of 
goods, and starting them on ahead towards Fond du Lac, 
intending to catch up with them in his lighter canoe at the 
evening encampment, when the following incident occurred, 
which, to the day of his death the old trader ever spoke 
of with the deepest emotion. 

His canoes had all been sent ahead, and now appeared 
like mere specks on the bosom of the calm lake towards 
their destination, and he was preparing to embark himself, 
in his canoe a liege fully manned, when the book-keeper of 
the post, coming down to his canoe for a parting shake of 
the hand, informed him that while he had been engaged in 
sending off his men and outfit, Sir Alexander McKenzie 
and other gentlemen of the company had been holding a 
council with the Indians, and attempting to explain to 
them the reasons and necessity for evacuating their depot 
at Grand Portage, which was located within the United 
States lines, and building a new establishment within the 
British boundaries, at a spot now known as Fort William. 1 

1 Alexander Henry, a nephew of the Henry, who traded in 1775 on the shores 
of Lake Superior, on the 3d of July, 1S02, found brick kilns burning: at Kama- 
nistiquia, in charge of R. McKenzie, for the erection of the new post Fort 
William, in compliment to William McGillivary. — Neill's History of Minnesota, 
fifth edition, 1SS3, p. 882. 

cadotte's value as an interpreter. 293 

The Indians could not, or would not, understand the neces- 
sity of this movement, as they claimed the country as 
their own, and felt .as though they had a right to locate 
their traders wherever they pleased. They could not be 
made to understand or acknowledge the right which Great 
Britain and the United States assumed, in dividing between 
them the lands which had been left to them by their ances- 
tors, and of which they held actual possession. The book- 
keeper further informed Mens. Cadotte that the gentlemen 
of the company were in considerable trouble for want of 
an efficient interpreter, to explain these matters to the 
satisfaction of the Indians, and they would have calleel on 
him for his services, but were fearful of retarding his move- 
ments, and as he was his own master, they could not com- 
mand him. On hearing this, Mons. Cadotte (who already 
bore the name of being the best Ojibway interpreter in the 
northwest), immediately stepped out of his canoe, and 
walking up to the council room, he offered to act as inter- 
preter between McKenzie and the Indians. His timely 
and voluntary offer was gladly accepted, and he soon ex- 
plained the difficult and intricate question of right, which 
so troubled the mindu of the Ojibways, to the entire satis- 
faction of all parties ; and as he once more proceeded to 
embark in his canoe, which lay at the water-side, waiting 
for him, the gentlemen of the fur company escorted him 
to the beach, and as Sir Alex. McKenzie shook his hand 
at parting, he presented him with a sealed paper, with the 
remark that it was in payment of the service which he hael 
just now voluntarily rendered them. 

When arrived at some distance out on the lake, Mons. 
Cadotte opened the paper, and was surprised to discover it 
to be a clear quittance of all his indebtedness to Alexander 
Henry, which had always been a trouble on his mind, and 
which he had not been made aware had been bought up 
by his employers. On the impulse of the moment he 
ordered his canoe turned about, in order that he might 



go and express his gratitude to the generous McKenzie, 
but on second thought he proceeded on his journey, im- 
bued with a firm determination to repay this mark of 
kindness by attending closely to his business, and endea- 
voring to make such returns of furs in the spring, as 
would cause the company not to regret the generosity 
with which they had treated him. He succeeded to his 
fullest satisfaction, and the Northwest Company, together 
with himself, reaped this year immense profits from the 
Fond du Lac department. 

It was while Mons. Cadotte had charge of this depart- 
ment, that an occurrence happened, which may be con- 
sidered as an item in the history of the Ojibways, and 
which fully demonstrates the strong influence which the 
traders of the northwest had already obtained over their 
minds and conduct, and also the fearlessness with which 
the pioneer, whom we have made the subject of this chap- 
ter, executed justice in the very midst of thousands of the 
wild and warlike Ojibway hunters. 

A Canadian " coureur du bois," employed at the Lac 
Coutereille post, which was under the immediate charge of 
a clerk named Mons. Coutouse, was murdered by an Indian 
on Lac Shatac during the winter. This was a crime which 
the Ojibways had seldom committed, and Mons. Cadotte, 
knowing fully the character of the Indians with whom he 
was dealing, at once became satisfied that a prompt and 
severe example was necessary, in order that such a deed 
might not again be committed, and that the Ojibways 
might learn to have a proper respect for the lives of white 
men. He took the matter especially in hand, and imme- 
diately sent a messenger to Lac Coutereille to inform the 
Indians that the murderer must be brought to Fond du 
Lac and delivered into his hands, and should they refuse 
to comply with his demand, he notified them that no more 
traders should go amongst them, and their supplies of 


tobacco, guns, ammunition, and clothing should be entin h 

The .war-chief of Lac Coutereille, named Ke-dtig-a-bc- 
shew, or "Speckled Lynx, 7 ' a man of great influence 
amongst his people, and a firm friend to the white man, 
seized the offender, and in the spring of the year, win ri 
the inland traders returned to the depot at Fond da Lac, 
with their collection of furs, he went with them, and de- 
livered the murderer into the hands of Mons. Cadotte. 
The rumor of this event had spread to the different villages 
of the Ojibways, and an unusual large number of the trilns 
collected with the return of their different trader-, abound 
the post at Fond du Lac, induced mostly from curiosity to 
witness the punishment which the whites would inflict on 
one who had spilt their blood. 

When all his clerks and men had arrived from their dif- 
ferent wintering posts, Mons. Cadotte formed his principal 
clerks into a council, or jury, to try the Indian muni* n r. 
His guilt was fully proved, and the sentence which was 
passed on him was, that he should suffer death in the same 
manner as he had inflicted death on his victim — with the 
stab of a knife. Mons. Coutouse, whose " coureur du h<>i »" 
had been killed, requested to be the executioner of this 

The relatives of the Indian assembled in council, after 
having been informed of the fate which their brother was 
condemned to suffer. They sent for Mons. Cadotte and 
his principal clerks, and solemnly offered, according t«» 
their custom, to buy the life of the culprit with packs «>t 
beaver skins. Cadotte himself, who is said to have natu- 
rally possessed a kind and charitable heart, became 
softened by their touching appeals, and expressed a ilispo- 
sition to accept their proposition, but the clerks and » - so- 
cially the "coureur du bois," whose comrade had been 
killed, were so excited and determined on vengeance, that 
the offer of the Indians was rejected. 



On the morrow after the trial, the execution took place. 
Mons. Caclotte led the condemned man from the room 
where he had heen confined, and leading him out -into the 
open air, he pointed to the sun, and gave him the first 
intimation of his approaching death, by bidding him to 
look well at that bright luminary, for it was the last time 
he should behold it, for the man whom he had murdered 
was calling him to the land of spirits. lie then delivered 
him into the hands of his clerks ; the gate was thrown 
open, and the prisoner was led outside of the post, into the 
presence of a vast concourse of his people who had assem- 
bled to witness his punishment. The fetters were knocked 
from his wrists, and at a given signal, Coutouse, the 
executioner, who stood by with his right arm bared to the 
elbow, and holding an Indian scalping knife, suddenly 
stabbed him in the back. As he quickly withdrew the 
knife, a stream of blood spirted up and bespattered the 
gateway, and the Indian, yelling a last war-whoop, leaped 
forward, but as he started to run, a clerk named Landre 
again buried a dirk in his side. The Indian, though 
fearfully and mortally wounded, ran with surprising swift- 
ness to the water-side, and for a few rods he continued his 
course along the sandy beach, when he suddenly leaped up, 
staggered and fell. Two women, holding; each a child in 
her arms — the Indian wives of John Baptiste and Michel 
Cadotte, who had often plead in vain to their husbands for 
his life, were the first who approached the body of the 
dying Indian, and amidst the deep silence of the stricken 
spectators, these compassionate women bent over him, and 
with weeping eyes, watched his last feeble death struggle. 
The wife of Michel, who is still living 1 at an advanced age, 
often speaks of this occurrence in her early life, and never 
without a voice trembling with the deepest emotion. 

1 A. D. 1852. 



The traders, being uncertain how the Indians would 
regard this summary mode of punishment, and possessing 
at the time the double advantage of concentrated numbers 
and security within the walls of the stockaded post, deter- 
mined to try their temper to the utmost, before they again 
scattered throughout their country in small parties, whore, 
if disposed to retaliate, the Indians could easily cut them 
off in detail. 

Mons. Cadotte was himself so closely related to the tribe, 
and knew the strength of his influence so well, that he felt 
no -apprehension of these general consequences ; but, to 
satisfy his men, as well as to discover if the near relatives 
of the executed Indian indulged revengeful feelings, he 
presented a quantity of " eau de vie" to the Indians, know- 
ing that in their intoxication they would reveal any hard 
feelings or vengeful purposes for the late act, should 
they actually indulge them. 

The Indian camp was that night drowned in a drunken 
revel, but not a word of displeasure or hatred did they 
litter against the traders, and their future conduct proved 
that it was a salutary and good example, for it caused the 
life of a white man to be ever after held sacred. 





Remarks— Numbers of the Lac Coutereille and Lac du Flambeau bands — 
Their mode of gaining subsistance — They attribute their gradual westward 
advance to the example of their pioneer traders — Michel Cadotte — In 178-i 
he winters on the Num-a-ka-gun — He winters on the Chippeway within 
range of the Dakotas — He again winters on the Chippeway, and experiences 
trouble from the Indians — He winters on the Chippeway below Vermilion 
Falls — Two Canadians are drowned in the Rapids — Danger from the Dakotas 
— Peace is happily effected — Credit due to Cadotte and La Rocque — War- 
fare between Ojibways and Dakotas — War party and death of " Big Ojib- 
way" — Prairie Rice Lake — The Indian tight on its shores — A family of Ojib- 
ways are massacred by the Dakotas — Bravery and revenge of the father — 
Exploit of Le-bud-ee — New villages are formed at Lac Shatac, Puk-wa-i- 
wah, Pelican Lakes and Wisconsin — Ojibways come in contact with the 

We have now arrived at a period in the history of the 
Ojibways, which is within the remembrance of aged chiefs, 
half-breeds, and traders still living amongst them : and we 
can promise our readers that but few occurrences will 
hereafter be related, but the accounts of which have been 
obtained by the writer from the lips of eye-witnesses, and 
actual actors therein. 

From this period, his labors in procuring reliable infor- 
mation have been light, in comparison to the trouble of 
sifting and procuring corroborative testimony from various 
sources, the traditions which have been orally transmitted 
from father to son, for generations past. The greatest 
trouble will now consist in choosing from the mass of 
information which the writer has been collecting during 
several years past, such portions as may truly be considered 
as historical and worthy of presenting to the world. The 


important tribe of whom we treat in these pages, is divided 
into several distinctly marked divisions, occupying differ- 
ent sections of their extensive country, and we have been 
obliged to skip from one section to another, that we might 
relate events which have happened to each, in the order of 

In this chapter we will again return to the Lac Coute- 
reille and Lac du Flambeau divisions, whom we left, in a 
previous chapter, in possession of the sources of the Wis- 
consin and Chippeway rivers — two large tributaries of 
the Mississippi. 

In the latter part of the eighteenth century these two 
bands already numbered one thousand souls. They had 
located their villages on the beautiful lakes which form the 
head waters of these rivers, and to some extent they prac- 
tised the arts of agriculture, raising large quantities of corn 
and potatoes, the seed for which had been introduced 
amongst them by their traders on Lake Superior. They 
also collected each autumn large quantities of wild rice, 
which abounded in many of their lakes and streams. As 
game became scarce in the vicinity of their villages, they 
moved in large hunting camps towards the Mississippi, 
and on the richer hunting grounds of the Dakotas they 
reaped rich harvests of meat and furs. 

The older and more intelligent men of these bands attri- 
bute to this day their steady westward advance, and final 
possession of the country nearly to the Mississippi, through 
following the example and footsteps of their first and old 
pioneer trader, Michel Cadotte, a younger brother of J. B. 
Cadotte, mentioned in previous chapters. 

The memory of this man, the marks of whose wintering 
posts are pointed out to this day throughout every portion 
of the Ojibway country, is still dear to the hearts of the 
few old chiefs and hunters who lived cotemporary with 
him, and received the benefits of his unbounded charitable 



disposition. Full of courage and untiring enterprise, he 
is mentioned to this day as having not only placed the 
weapons into the hands of the Ojibways which enabled 
them to conquer their enemies, but led them each winter 
westward and further westward into the rich hunting 
grounds of the Dakotas, until they learned to consider the 
country as their own, and caused their enemies to fall back 
after many a bloody fight west of the " Great River." 

He is mentioned as the first trader who wintered 
amongst the bands wdio had taken possession of the sources 
of the Chippeway River. As early as the year 1784, he 
wintered on the Xum-a-ka-gun River, a branch of the St. 
Croix. The remains of his old post are pointed out a 
short distance below the portage, which leads towards Lac 
Coutereille. From this position he secured the trade of 
both the St. Croix and Chippeway River divisions. From 
a small outfit of goods which he had procured from the 
British traders at Michilimackinac, he collected forty packs 
of beaver skins, with which he returned in the spring by 
way of La Pointe. A few years after, he wintered on 
Chippeway River, at a spot known to the Ojibways as 
Puk-a-wah-on-aun, a short distance above the mouth of 
Man-e-to-wish River. This region of country was then 
claimed by the Dakotas, and the enterprise of locating 
thereon was attended with great danger. Beaver, elk, 
deer, and bear, were, however, so plenty, that the Indians 
were induced, though in u fear and trembling,'"' to follow 
their fearless trader. The Lac Coutereille band in a body 
floated down the Chippeway River, and pitched their 
camp by the side of his trading house, and word having 
been sent to the Lac du Flambeau band, they also, in a 
body, floated down the Man-e-to-wish, and the two camps 
joining together, rendered them too strong to fear an 
attack from their enemies. 



Having been very successful in his winter's trade, Ca- 
dotte again returned the following autumn, intending to 
pass another winter at hi3 former post. He sent word as 
before to the Lac du Flambeau band of his purpose and 
as he passed Lac Coutereille the hunters of this village 
followed him down the Chippeway River. It was the 
custom of the traders in those days to take with them to 
different wintering posts small quantities of " eau de vie,'' 
which, when their hunters had all assembled around them, 
they made a present of to the principal chiefs, for their 
people to have a grand frolic. 

To the inland bands, this great indulgence came around 
but once a year, and they looked forward to it with the 
greatest longing. On receiving their liquor, the chief 
would generally appoint several of his warriors as masters 
of the approaching debauch. They would first go around, 
and collecting the guns, axes, knives and other weapons 
which a drunken man might be apt to use, if at hand, they 
would hide them away, and act during the frolic as guar- 
dians and mediators between such as possessed bad tempers 
and quarrelled with one another over their cups. When 
the camp had once more returned to their sober senses, 
these several warriors would, in their turn, have their frolic. 

On this occasion, when Michel Cadotte had arrived and 
camped at his old post, the chief of the Lac Coutereille 
village called on him, and formally demanded the usual 
present of fire-water given at the opening of the fall hunts. 
The trader refused to comply with his request, on the 
ground that the Lac du Flambeau band had not yet 
arrived, but being daily expected, he would wait till they 
had camped together, before he gave them their usual 
present of liquor. The chief went off apparently satisfied, 
but having waited two whole days in vain for the expected 
band, his longings for a dram were such that he again 



paid Mons. Cadotte a visit, and this time he peremptorily 
demanded the fire-water, using the most threatening lan- 
guage in hopes of intimidating him to do as he wished. 
The trader, however, firmly refused, and the Indian finally 
left the lodge in a great rage. His camp lay on the oppo- 
site side of the river, ahout two hundred yards across. He 
embarked in his canoe, and paddled over, all the time 
uttering the most abusive and threatening language. Arriv- 
ing at his water's side, he leaped ashore, and running to 
his lodge for his gun, he again ran out, and commenced 
firins: at Mons. Cadotte's lodo-e. He had discharged his 
gun three times (nearly killing the wife of the trader), 
when the war-chief of his band ran to him, and wresting 
the gun out of his hands, he was on the point of breaking 
the stock over his head, when other Indians interfered. 
Many of his own people were so enraged at this foolish act 
of their civil chief, that his life would have been taken, 
had not Cadotte himself interfered to save him. 

When the Lac du Flambeau band (whose chief was a 
man of decided character, and an uncle of the trader's wife), 
arrived on the Chippeway River, a few miles, below the 
scene of this occurrence, they were so exasperated that 
they refused to come up and camp with the Lac Coute- 
reille band, but sent messengers to invite Mons. Cadotte to 
come and locate himself for the winter in their midst. 
The trader, to punish the chief who had treated him so 
badly, though he now showed the deepest contrition, 
accepted the invitation of his Lac du Flambeau relatives, 
and proceeding some distance down the river, he wintered 
with them at the mouth of Jump River. 

The following autumn, Michel Cadotte again returned 
to the Chippeway River, and this time he proceeded with 
his Indian hunters to the outskirts of the prairies which 
stretch up this river for about eighty miles above its con- 
fluence with the Mississippi. In descending the upper 



falls on this river in their canoes, he lost two of his " cou- 
reurs du hois,'' who were upset in the rapids and drawn 
into a whirlpool. His post, during this winter, was located 
in such a dangerous neighborhood to the Dakotas, that he 
built a wall of logs around his shanty, while hi3 hunters 
did the same around their camp. 

During the winter the Dakotas gradually approached 
them in a large camp, and Cadotte, to prevent his hunters 
from leaving him, determined to try if a temporary peace 
could not be effected between them. He collected about 
one hundred men, and, supplying them with plenty of am- 
munition, he proceeded at their head to the Dakota camp, 
-which lay about half a day's march down the river. The 
Dakotas materially outnumbered them, and they showed 
every disposition for a fight, as the Ojibways made their 
appearance with a white flag and pipe of peace. It hap- 
pened that they, too, had their trader with them, an old 
pioneer, named La Eoque, the father of the respected old 
gentleman of this name who still 1 resides at the foot of 
Lake Pepin, and who i3 well known to all the old settlers 
on the Upper Mississippi. 

The efforts of this man, in conjunction with Mons. Ca- 
dotte, effected on this occasion a temporary peace between 
the two hostile parties, and they passed the remainder of 
the winter in feasting; and hunting with one another. 
From this time may be dated the terms of temporary 
peace, which almost each winter these two camps, being 
nearly equal in numbers, made with one another, in order 
that they might pursue their hunts in security. Like 
other bands of their tribes, however, notwithstanding the 
winter's peace, they appeared to consider it an unavoidable 
duty to pass the summer in destroying one another. 

The warfare which this division of the Ojibways waged 
with the Dakotas of the Wabasha and Red Wing villages, 

i A. D. 1852. 



was as bloody and unremitting as the feud which was 
being carried on by the St. Croix and Upper Mississippi 
divisions of their tribe with the Kaposia, Warpeton, and 
Sisseton Dakotas. The country of their present occupation 
is covered with spots where the warriors of either tribe 
have met in mortal strife. Almost every bend on Chippe- 
way and Menominee rivers has been the scene of a fight, 
surprise, or bloody massacre, and one of their chiefs re- 
marked with truth when asked to sell his lands, that " the 
country was strewn with the bones of their fathers, and 
enriched with their blood." 

From the time we have mentioned, when Cadotte win- 
tered on the outskirts of the western prairies, the Ojibways 
may be considered as having taken actual possession of the 
valuable hunting region stretching from Lake Superior 
nearly three hundred miles to the lower Falls of the Chip- 
peway River, within two days' march of the Mississippi. 

Through the efforts and influence of their early traders, 
peace was occasionally effected. John Baptiste and 
Michel Cadotte on the part of the Ojibways, and Mons. 
La Roque on the part of the Dakotas, are mentioned, and 
deserve much credit, as often having arrested the blow of 
the war-club, and changing what would have been scenes 
of bloodshed and death to those of peace and rejoicing. 
These terms of peace were generally short and transient, 
and seldom lasted the full length of a year. For no sooner 
than spring and summer again came around, the time of 
pastime and recreation for the red hunters, than a longing 
desire seized the warriors for blood and renown, or revenge 
for old injuries, or to wipe away the paint of mourning for 
the death of some near relative. The villagers of either 
tribe never considered the pleasures of the general summer 
season as complete, without the enjoyment of dancing and , 
singing merrily around the scalp lock of an enemy. 


"Were accounts of all the acts of treachery after a formal 
peace, the tights, massacres, and surprises which have 
occurred during the past century between these two war- 
like divisions of the Ojibway and Dakotas to be collected 
and written, they would fill a large volume. In our present 
work we have space only to give a few characteristic 
instances, illustrating the nature of the warfare they have 
waged with one another. Scenes or events, where acts of 
unusual courage and bravery have been performed by any 
of their warriors, are long remembered in the tribe, and 
are related with great minuteness in their winter evening 
lodge gatherings, for the amusement and benefit of the 
rising generation. 

The following circumstance is one of this nature, which 
deserves record in the annals of these warlike people : — 

One summer about the year 1795, a noted war-chief of 
Lac Coutcreille named u The Big Ojibway,'' having recently 
lost some near relatives at the hands of the Dakotas, raised 
a small war party consisting of twenty-three men, and pro- 
ceeded at their head towards the West, to revenge the blow 
on their enemies. They reached the mouth of the Chippe- 
way River without meeting with any fresh signs of the 
Dakotas. Arriving On the banks of the Mississippi, how- 
ever, they beheld long rows of lodges on the opposite shore, 
and from the beating; of drums and dancing, which thev 
could hear and perceive was being performed by their 
enemies, they judged that they were preparing to go to 

Under this impression, the Ojibway war party laid an 
ambush at a spot peculiarly adapted for the purpose, by 
a thick forest of trees which grew to the very banks of the 
Ohippeway River. Scouts were placed at the entry of 
this stream, directly opposite the Dakota encampment, to 
watch the departure of the expected war party. Early the 



next morning; the Dakotas were seen to embark in their 
wooden canoes, to the number of about two hundred men, 
and proceed up the current of the Chippeway. The watch- 
ful scouts, after being fully satisfied of the course the 
enemy was about to take, ran to their leader, and informed 
him of all that which they had observed. 

The numbers of the Dakotas made it an act of almost 
certain self-destruction for the small Ojibway party to 
attack them, and the more prudent and fearful advised, 
their chief to make a quiet retreat. His determination, 
however, was fixed, and bidding such as feared death to 
depart and leave him, he prepared himself for the coming 
conflict. Xot one of his little party left his side, and they 
awaited in silence the moment that the enemy would pass 
by their place of ambush. Soon the Dakotas made their 
appearance, singing their war-songs, and paddling their 
canoes slowly up the rapid current of the river. 

Arriving opposite the unsuspected ambuscade of the 
Ojibways, a volley was suddenly fired amongst them, kill- 
ing three of their most prominent warriors, and wounding 
many others. The Ojibways waited not to reload their 
guns, but springing up, they ran for their lives, in hopes 
that in the first confusion of their sudden attack, the Da- 
kotas would not immediately pursue, and thus give them 
a chance for escape. They were, however, disappointed, 
for their enemy lost no time in leaping ashore and follow- 
ing their footsteps. The Ojibway leader was a large, 
portly man, and unable to run for any distance. He soon 
fell in the rear, and though the yells of the Dakotas were 
plainly heard apparently fast gaining on them, his little 
pasty refused his entreaties to leave him to his fate. At 
last he stopped altogether, and addressing his warriors, he 
bade them to leave him, and save their lives, for he had 
not brought them there to leave their bones to whiten the 
prairie. For his part, he knew that he must die. His 



guardian spirit had foretold it to him in a dream, but in 
the mean time he would stand between them and their 
pursuers, that they might return in safety to their people. 

His comrades reluctantly left him, and to a man they 
arrived at their homes in safety. The Dakotas, at a peace 
party, afterwards told of the last brave struggle of the "Big 
Ojibway." They found him seated in a clump of tall grass, 
on a small prairie, calmly smoking his pipe. The van of 
the Dakotas stopped suddenly at seeing him, and com- 
menced leaping from side to side to distract his aim, as 
they expected him to fire in their midst : but the Ojibway 
warrior appearing to take no notice of them, they ceased 
their dodging, and awaited the arrival of the whole party, 
being uncertain in what light to consider the conduct of 
their fearless and stoical enemy, and fearful that it was 
some ruse to decoy them into an ambush of a larger party 
of the enemy, than had yet appeared. 

When the Dakotas had all assembled, they gradually 
and cautiously surrounded the warrior, and when they had 
discovered the fact of his being entirely alone, they com- 
menced firing at him. At the first volley the brave man 
fell forward as if dead, and the Dakotas in a body ran for- 
ward to secure his scalp. As they reached him, he 
suddenly sprang up, and shooting down the foremost war- 
rior, he rushed among the thickest ranks, and dispatched 
another with the stock of his gun; then drawing his knife, 
he continued to fight till pierced by many spear points and 
barbed arrows, he fell on hi3 knees. Still, hi3 blood well- 
ing from many a gaping wound, he yelled his war-whoop, 
and fairly kept his numerous enemies at bay, till, weakened 
by loss of blood and continued wounds, the bravest of the 
Dakotas grappled with him, and seizing his scalp lock, 
severed with his knife the head from his body. It is said 
that during the whole fight, the Ojibway warrior had 
laughed at his enemies, and his face, after the head had 



been separated from his body, was still wreathed in a 

Such a high notion did the Dakotas entertain of his 
bravery, that they cut out his heart, which, being cut into 
small pieces, was swallowed by their warriors raw, in the 
belief that it would make them equally " strong hearted." 
The length of time which the " Big Ojibway" had retarded 
the pursuit of the Dakotas, enabled his little war party to 
make their escape, and they always attributed their salva- 
tion on this trying occasion to the manly courage and self- 
sacrifice of their chief, whose name will long be remem- 
bered in the traditions of his people. 

In the year 1798, a handful of Ojibway warriors fought 
a severe battle with a large party of Dakotas, at Prairie 
Rice Lake. As this lake has been the scene of several 
engagements between these two tribes, a brief description 
of its position, size, and advantages will not be considered 
amiss. On Mons. Nicollet's map, it is named Mille Lacs, 
and empties its waters into Red Cedar, a tributary of Chip- 
peway River. Mr. Nicollet, who has given us a map 
which may be considered as generally correct, must, how- 
ever, have been misinformed in the name, and somewhat 
in the position of this lake. It has always been known to 
the Ojibways by the name of Mush-ko-da-mun-o-min-e-kan, 
meaning Prairie Rice Lake, and to the French as Lac la 
Folle. During a two years' residence (in 1840-41) in the 
vicinity of this lake, and especially during a tour which 
the writer made through this district of country, in the 
summer of 1850, circumstances happened which made him 
fully acquainted with this lake, and the country surround- 
ing it. 

It is situated about forty miles directly north of the 
lower rapids on Chippeway River, where the extensive 
establishment known as Chippeway Mills is now 1 located. 

» A. D. 1852. 



Its entire length is about eight miles, but averages less 
than a quarter of a mile in width. A clear, rapid stream 
connects it with another lake of nearly equal size, "known 
to the Indians as Sha-da-sag-i-e-gan, or Pelican Lake, and 
from thence discharges their superfluous waters into the 
Red Cedar, or Me-nom-in-ee River. A portage of only 
two miles in length connects Prairie Rice Lake with this 
river, and the foot of the portage, or the spot where it 
strikes the river, is twenty miles above its outlet into it. 
The lake being miry-bottomed, and shallow, is almost 
entirely covered with wild rice, and so thick and luxuriant 
does it grow, that the Indians are often obliged to cut 
passage ways through it for their bark canoes. From the 
manner in which they gather the rice, and the quantity 
which a family generally collects during the harvesting 
season, this lake alone would supply a body of two thous- 
and Indians. 

In the fall of 1850, when the writer passed through it, 
he found it occupied by fifty wigwams of the Ojibways, 
numbering over five hundred souls. They were busily 
employed in gathering the rice, camping separately in 
spots where it grew in the greatest thickness and abundance. 
The country surrounding the lake is sparsely covered with 
pine trees, through which fires appear to have occasionally 
run, burning the smaller trees and thickets, and giving the 
country a prairie-like appearance, which has given it the 
Indian name which it at present bears. One single island 
about four acres in size, and covered w 7 ith a grove of beau- 
tiful elm trees, lies on the bosom of this picturesque lake. 
In times of danger, the Ojibway u rice makers" have 
often pitched their wigwams on it for greater security. 

From the earliest period of their occupation of the Chip- 
peway River country, the most fearless of the Ojibways 
came thither each fall of the year, to collect a portion of 
the abundant rice crop, notwithstanding its close vicinity 



to the Dakota villages, and notwithstanding they lost lives 
from their sudden attacks almost yearly. 

In the year which has been mentioned, several wigwams 
of the Lac Coutereille hand, under the guidance of the 
war-chief, "Yellow Head," collected at Prairie Rice Lake, 
to gather wild rice, and as usual in those days of danger, 
they located themselves on the island. Early one morning 
the chief called the men of the camp into his lodge, to take 
a social smoke, when he informed them that he had been 
visited during the night by his guardian spirit in a dream, 
and he knew that the Dakotas must be lurking near. He 
bade them not to go on their usual day's hunt, and sent 
two young men to go and scout the shores of the lake, to 
discover some fresh signs of the enemy. The scouts, em- 
barking in a canoe, immediately started on their errand. 
They had not arrived more than half a mile from the camp, 
when, approaching the shore, they were fired at by an am- 
buscade Of the enemy. One was killed, and the other, 
though severely wounded, succeeded, amid volleys of 
bullets, in pushing his canoe out of their rea<ah. 

The men of the Ojibways, hearing the firing, all that 
were able to bear arms grasped their weapons, and to the 
number of twenty-five, many of whom were old men and 
mere boys, embarked in their canoes, and paddled towards 
the scene of action, to join the fight. The Dakotas, per- 
ceiving this movement, sent a body of their warriors to lie 
in ambush at the spot where they supposed the Ojibways 
would attempt a landing. The women of the camp, how- 
ever, seeing the enemy collecting in large numbers to 
intercept their men, halloed to them, and informing them 
of the ambuscade, the Ojibways turned about, and landed 
on the main shore, immediately opposite the island. In- 
tending to attack the Dakotas by land, they sent the canoes 
back by some women who had come with them for the 
purpose. Yellow Head, then heading the party, led them 



through a thicket of underbrush towards the point where 
the enemy were still firing at the scouts. 

In passing through these thickets, Yellow Head discov- 
ered a Dakota women, holding in her arms a young boy, 
about two years old, covered with a profuse quantity of 
wampum and silver ornaments. She was the wife, and 
the child a son, of a noted Dakota war-chief who had 
been lately killed by the Ojibways, and she had followed 
the war party of her people, raised to revenge his death, 
in order to initiate her little son, and wipe the paint of 
mourning from her face. In expectation of a fight, the 
Dakotas had bade her to hide in these thickets, little 
thinking that they would be the first victims whose scalps 
would grace the belts of the Ojibways. Yellow Head, on 
perceiving the woman and child, yelled his fierce war- 
whoop, and rushing up to her he snatched the boy from 
her arms, and throwing him with all his force behind him, 
he bade his aged father (who was following his footsteps ) 
to despatch it. He then pursued the woman, who hail 
arisen, and now fled with great swiftness towards her 
friends, uttering piercing shrieks for help. The Dakotas, 
having heard the Ojibway w r ar-yell, and now hearing the 
cries of their woman, ran, to the number of near one hun- 
dred men, to her rescue. A younger warrior of the Ojib- 
ways had passed his war-chief, and though seeing the 
advance of the enemy, he followed up the chase, till, catch- 
ing up with her, he stabbed her in the back, and was 
stooping over her body to cut off her head, when his chief 
called on him to fly, for the Dakotas were on him. Xot a 
moment too soon did the young warrior obey this call, for 
the spears of the enemy almost reached his back as he 
turned to fly, and being laden with the bloody head, which 
he would not drop, the foremost of the Dakotas fast gained 
on him ; but not till he felt the end of a spear point enter- 
ing his back did he call on his chief to turn and help him. 



Yellow Head, who was noted for his great courage, 
instantly obeyed the call, and throwing himself behind a 
pine tree, he shot down the Dakota who had caught up 
with him, and was almost despatching his comrade. The 
fallen warrior was dressed in a white shirt, wore a silver 
medal on his breast, and silver ornaments on his arms. 
He carried nothing but a spear in his hand, denoting him 
to be a chief, and the leader of the Dakota war party. He 
was the uncle of the boy who had just been dispatched, 
which accounts for the eagerness with which he pursued 
the Ojibway warrior, keeping so close to his back that his 
warriors dared not discharge their lire-arms, for fear of 
hitting him. 

The moment the Dakota leader fell, his fellows took 
cover behind the trees, and Yellow Head, having saved 
his comrade, who now stood panting by his side, called on 
his people, " if they were men, to turn and follow his ex- 
ample." But ten out of the twenty -five were brave enough 
to obey his call, and these, taking cover behind trees and 
bushes, fought by his side all day. Though the Dakotas 
ten times outnumbered them, the Ojibway s caused them to 
retreat at nightfall, leaving seven of their warriors dead or 
the field. The Ojibways lost but three men, besides the 
scout who had been killed by the ambuscade. Some days 
after the fight, the Ojibways discovered a number of bodies 
which the enemy, to conceal their loss, had hid in a swamp 
adjacent to the battle-field. 

The Dakotas, in their occasional " peace makings" with 
the Ojibways, have generally accorded to them the art of 
being the best fighters in a thicket or forest, while they 
claim an equal superiority on the open prairie, being 
swifter of foot, and better dodgers. The Ojibways claim, 
also, that they fight with cooler courage than the Dako- 
tas, and that they never throw away their ammunition ; 
and from the general results of their numerous rencontres, 



it must be conceded that they are far the best shots. These 
things are mentioned to account for the numerous instances 
where a determined few have committed such havoc in the 
ranks of the enemy, as almost to surpass belief. 

On another occasion, a single lodge of Ojibways located 
on the shores of Prairie Rice Lake, was attacked by a 
party of two hundred Dakotas, and all its inmates mas- 
sacred. The head of the family, a man noted in the wars 
of those times for great courage, happened to be away, 
spearing fish, when his family were murdered. Hearing 
the firing, he ran to their rescue, but arrived only to wit- 
ness the ashes of his lodge, and the mangled remains of his 
wife and children. Determined on revenge or death, 
singly he pursued the enemy, and having caught up with 
them, he sustained the unequal fight till his ammunition 
gave out, when, having seen several of the enemy fall 
under his aim, he turned, and though nearly surrounded, 
he made his escape. Shortly after, he returned to the field 
of the fight, and discovered five Dakotas whom he had 
killed, left by their friends in a sitting posture, facing the 
west. Having scalped them, he returned, without kin, 
but loaded with honor, to the village of his people. 

About the same time (between fifty and sixty years ago), 
another family were massacred by the Dakotas at this lake. 
Le-bud-ee, a son of the old man who was killed on this 
occasion, raised a small war party during the ensuing 
winter, and attacked a large lodge of the enemy on Hay 
River. There were eight men of the Dakotas in the lodge, 
who returned the fire of the Ojibways very briskly. Be- 
coming desperate at their obstinate defence, Le-bud-ee, fol- 
lowed by one of his bravest comrades, rushed madly for- 
ward, and cutting open the leathern covering of the lodge, 
they entered into a hand to hand conflict with such of the 
Dakotas as still remained alive. Le-bud-ee's comrade was 
killed in the act of entering the lodge, while he himself 



jumped in, despatched a warrior with his knife, and had 
taken two women captive, before the remainder of his 
party had fairly arrived to his help. This action is related 
by the Ojibways as one of great courage, as they seldom, 
in their warfare, come to a hand to hand conflict. 

At a peace-making, following soon after this last event, 
the two captives of Le-bud-ee were returned to the Dakotas. 

Many more instances similar in nature to these which 
have been related in this chapter, might be given to swell 
the annual record of bloodshed in which the division of 
the Ojibway tribe under our present consideration were 
engaged in, during this period of their history, but it is 
deemed that enough have been presented to illustrate their 
mode of living, and warfare, and the dangers which daily 
assailed them in becoming possessed of the country over 
which their children now claim unquestioned right, over 
any other tribe of their fellow red men. 

In this chapter we have brought down the annals, or 
history of this section of the Ojibways, to within a half 
century of the present time. 

The grand or principal villages at Lac Coutereille and 
Lac du Flambeau, had commenced to shoot forth new 
branches or communities, who located their wigwams on 
some of the many beautiful lakes and streams which swell 
the waters of the Chippeway and Wisconsin. Lac Shatac 
early became a separate village. So also,Ke-che-puk-wa-i- 
wah, a reservoir or lake through which the Chippeway 
River passes. 

From Lac du Flambeau, a large community branched 
off down the Wisconsin, who sometimes came in deadly 
contact with the Winnebagoes, who occupied the country 
about the Fox River, and who sometimes joined the war 
parties of their relatives, the Dakotas, against the Ojibways. 
This custom they followed but seldom, and never openly, 
as being literally surrounded by tribes of the Algic stock, 



they always feared to enter into an open war with any of 
their branches or relatives. 

Another considerable band located themselves at Suk-a- 
aug-un-ing towards Green Bay. They are now known as 
the Pelican Lake band. In 1848 this band numbered over 
two hundred souls. They have since been nearly cut. off 
by the smallpox, and other diseases introduced among 
them by the white population, which has spread over this 
portion of their former country. 





System of governmental polity among the Chippeway and Wisconsin River 
villages — Descendants of Ke-che-ne-zy-auh — The ascendancy of the Crane 
Totem family — Keesh-ke-mun chief of the Lac du Flambeau — Sub-chiefs, 
and war-chiefs — Death of the war-chiefs Yellow Head, and Wolf's Father in 
battle with the Dakotas — Shawano prophet, brother of Tecumseh — He raises 
an excitement among the Ojibways — His creed — One hundred and fifty 
canoes of Ojibways start from Shaug-a-waum-ik-ong to visit him at Detroit 
— They are turned back at the Pictured Rocks by Michel Cadotte — Anecdote 
respecting the deceptions of the prophet — Ojibways pillage Michel Cadotte's 
trading post at Lac Coutereille — Causes and consequence of this act — Ca- 
dotte curtails his trade — In 1823 he sells out his trading interest, and retires 
to private life— Brief re view of his pioneer life. 

Among the different bands of the Ojibways, occupying 
the country drained by the currents ot the \Yisconsin and 
Chippeway Rivers, something like a regular system ot 
governmental polity existed at this time. The dangers of 
their position (being continually subject to the attacks of 
the powerful Dakotas) linked them together, in a bond of 
brotherhood, which remained unbroken in its natural sim- 
plicity, till the fur traders entered their country in oppo- 
sition to one another, and to forward their own views and 
interests, sowed dissensions among them, and eventually 
almost broke the beautitul system which had held them 
bound to one another like brothers. This remark is appli- 
cable to the whole tribe, but at this stage of our history, we 
refrain from entering into a discussion of this important 

At the great convocation ot tribes, held by the French 
nation at Sautt Ste. Marie, in 1671, the traditions of the 
Crane family assert that Ke-che-ne-zuh-yauh, the head of 
their family, was recognized as principal chief over the 



Ojibway tribe ; and a golden 1 medal was placed on his 
breast, as a badge of his rank. He resided at La Fointe, 
and at his death left two sons, A-ke-gni-ow (Neck of Earth >, 
and She-da-wish (Bad Pelican), the eldest of whom suc- 
ceeded him in his rank, and continued to reside at La Fointe, 
while the youngest became the first pioneer towards die 
headwaters of the Wisconsin River. 

A-ke-gni-ow, after his death, was succeeded by his son, 
Waub-uj-e-jauk ("White Crane), who could rightfully claim 
the first chieftainship in his tribe; but who, being of an 
unambitious and retiring disposition, neglecting his civil 
duties, and attending only to those of the chase, he became 
at last superseded by a noted character of his time, named 
Au-daig-we-os (Crow's Flesh), the head or chief of the 
Loon family, who is justly celebrated in the traditions of 
his people, for wisdom, honesty, and an unvarying friend- 
ship to the whites. During his lifetime, his inlluencc ex- 
tended over the whole tribe, and his descendants to this 
day have upheld in some respects the position which their 
illustrious ancestor attained. The Cranes did not fully 
regain their former rank in the tribe, till the convocation 
of the northwestern tribes, held at Prairie du Ghien by the 
United States government in 1825, at which Hon. Lewis 
Cass acted as commissioner. This treaty was held for trie 
purpose of promoting peace between the different bellige- 
rent tribes, and that a just partition might be made between 
them, of the country which they occupied. The Ojibway 
tribe was fully represented ; chiefs and warriors being 
present from the Upper Mississippi, Lake Superior, St. 
Croix, Chippeway and Wisconsin Eivers. Shin-ga-ba-ossin 
(Spirit Stone), was acknowledged to be the representative 
of the Crane family, and his name w^as signed to the treaty. 

1 There is no official record of a golden medal having been given at that 
time. — E. D. N. 



as head chief of the tribe. He came from Sault Ste. Marie, 
over which band, or village, he was resident chief. 

Prior to this event, the dignity and influence of the 
Cranes had been upheld by Keesh-ke-niun (Sharpened 
Stone), the son of Sha-da-nish, the first Ojibway pioneer 
towards the Wisconsin. He is first mentioned by the old 
men and traders of the tribe, as having attained a promi- 
nent position as chief, between forty and fifty years ago. 
He made it his home, or permanent village, at Lac da 
Flambeau, and from this point he ruled over that division 
of his tribe, who occupied the midland country, between 
Lake Superior, southwest to the Mississippi. Under him 
was a chief of the warriors, whose business it was to carry 
out, by force, if necessary, the wishes of his chief. Xext 
in rank to the war-chief was the pipe bearer, or Osh-ka- 
ba-wis, who officiated in all public councils, making known 
the wishes of his chief, and distributing amongst his 
fellows, the presents which the traders occasionally gave 
to the chief to propitiate his good-will. 

Keesh-ke-mun was not only chief by hereditary descent, 
but he made himself truly such, through the wisdom and 
firmness of his conduct, both to his people and the whites. 
During his lifetime, he possessed an unbounded influence 
over the division of his tribe with whom he resided, and 
generally over the Lake Superior bands and villages. 

On the Chippeway Eiver, the traders had recognized as 
a chief Mis-ko-mun-e-dous (Little Red Spirit), a man noted 
for courage in war, and especially for great success in the 
chase. He belonged to the Marten family. At Lac Cou- 
tereille, Mon-so-ne (Moose Tail), of the Catfish family, pre- 
sided as resident chief; and in fact over each separate 
community, one, either noted for courage in war, success 
in hunting, wisdom, or age, was recognized, as head man, 
or chief. All these acted under and listened to the wishes 
of Keesh-ke-mun. And to this day (even after their former 



simple and natural civil polity had been so entirely broken 
up, that it is a doubt in the minds of many whether the 
Indians ever possessed any form of government), the de- 
scendants of this chief still retain the shadow of their for- 
mer ascendancy and real chieftainship. 

Waub-ish-2;an<2;-auo;-e (White Crow), the son and successor 
of Keesh-ke-mun, fully sustained the influence of his de- 
ceased father over the inland bands, till his death in 1847. 
His son Ah-mous (the Little Bee), though lacking the 
firmness, energy, and noble appearance of his fathers, and 
though their formerly large concentred bands are now 
split up by the policy of traders and United States agents 
into numerous small factions headed by new-made upstart 
chiefs, yet virtually, in the estimation of his tribe, he holds 
the first rank over the Lac du Flambeau and Chippeway 
River division, and his right to a first rank in the councils 
of his people is unquestioned. 

The war-chiefs, though second in rank to the civil chiefs, 
have often attained a paramount influence over the villages 
or sections of the tribe w r ith whom they resided ; but this 
influence (before they learned to follow some of the evil ways 
of the whites) they always used towards sustaining and 
strengthening the hereditary civil chiefs. The war chief- 
tainship was usually obtained by courage and exploits in 
war, and success in leading a war party, through spiritual 
vision, against the enemy. It sometimes descended from 
father to son, in fact always, where the son approved him- 
self in a manner to secure the confidence of the warriors. 

Half a century ago, in the Chippeway River district, 
Yellow Head, of Lac Coutereille, was a noted war-chief, 
and so also, Ke-dug-e-be-shew (Speckled Lynx), who first 
founded the village on Lac Shatac. The father of Mah- 
een-gun ( Wolf )^ at nresent a chief of Chippeway River, was 
also a noted chief. These men guided the war and peace 
movements of their respective villages, and they were 



prominent actors in all the most important rencontres 
which occurred between their section of the Ojibways, and 
the Dakotas. 

It was a day of deep mourning amongst their people, 
when the brave war-chiefs, Yellow Head and Wolf s Father, 
fell fighting side by side, against immense odds of Dakotas. 
With a small party of their fellows they had been hunting 
deer by torchlight, during the hot nights of summer, on 
the Red Cedar River. During the course of their hunt, 
being both men " not knowing fear," they had approached 
too near the haunts of the Dakotas, and being discovered, 
one morning, while engaged in curing meat at the mouth 
of Hay River, a large party of the enemy stealthily sur- 
rounded and suddenly attacked them. The two war-chiefs 
escaped the first volley of bullets ; and bade the young 
men, who were with them, to save themselves by flight, 
while they withstood the attack. Fighting against im- 
mense odds, they were at last forced into the river, where, 
in crossing to an island which lay close to the scene of 
action, Wolf's Father received a bullet through his brains, 
while Yellow Head, having reached the shelter of the 
island, sustained + he unequal fight till his ammunition 
failed him, and the Dakotas, after a severe struggle, gloried 
in the possession of his long much-coveted scalp. The say- 
ing of the people, is, that u on their journey to the land of 
spirits, these two warriors went well attended by Dakotas, 
whom they slew at the time of their departure (or death)." 

After this occurrence, and the usual levying of war par- 
ties, and consequent bloody revenge which followed it, no 
event of any immediate importance occurred on the Chip- 
peway and Wisconsin Rivers till the year 1808, when, 
under the influence of the excitement which the Shaw-nee 
prophet, brother of Tecumseh, succeeded in raising, even to 
the remotest village of the Ojibways, the men of the. Lac 
Coutereille village, pillaged the trading house of Michel 



Cadotte at Lac Coutereille, while under charge of a clerk 
named John Baptiste Corbin. From the lips of Mons. 
Corbin, who is still living 1 at Lac Coutereille, at the ad- 
vanced age of seventy-six years, and who has now been 
fifty-six years in the Ojibway country, I have obtained a 
reliable account of this transaction: — 

Michel Cadotte, after having fairly opened the resources 
of the fur trade of the Chippeway River district, and hav- 
ing approved himself as a careful and successful trader, 
entered into an arrangement with the Northwest Fur Com- 
pany, who at this time nearly monopolized the fur trade 
of the Ojibways. Mons. Cadotte located a permanent post 
or depot on the island of La Pointe, 2 on the spot known at 
the present time as the " Old Fort." He also built a trad- 
ing house at Lac Coutereille, which in the year 1800, was 
first placed in charge of J. B. Corbin. To supply these 
posts, he procured his outfit from the Xorthwest Company 
at Grand Portage. It is said that his outfit of goods each 
year amounted to the sum of forty thousand dollars, which 
he distributed in different posts on the south shores of Lake 
Superior, "Wisconsin, Chippeway, and St. Croix Rivers. 
He resided himself at La Pointe, having taken to wife the 
daughter of White Crane, the hereditary chief of this vil- 
lage. Cadotte, though he continued to winter in different 
parts of the Ojibway country from this time, always con- 
sidered La Pointe Island as his home, and here he died in 
1836, at the advanced age of seventy-two years. 

In the year 1808, during the summer while John B. 
Corbin had charge of the Lac Coutereille post, messengers, 
whose faces were painted black, and whose actions appeared 
strange, arrived at the different principal villages of the 

1 A. D. 1852. 

3 Isle De Tour or St. Michel is the name given to La Pointe Island by Fran- 
quelin in 16SS, which it retained until after the year 1S00. Madeline Inland 
is a comparatively modern designation. — E. D. N. 



Ojibways. In solemn councils they performed certain 
ceremonies, and told that the Great Spirit had at last con- 
descended to hold communion with the red race, through 
the medium of a Shawano prophet, and that they had been 
sent to impart the glad tidings. The Shawano sent them 
word that the Great Spirit was about to take pity on his 
red children, whom he had long forsaken for their wicked- 
ness. He bade them to return to the primitive usages and 
customs of their ancestors, to leave off the use of everything 
which the evil white race had introduced among them. 
Even the fire-steel must be discarded, and fire made as in 
ages past, by the friction of two sticks. And this lire, 
once lighted in their principal villages, must always be 
kept sacred and burning. lie bade them to discard the 
use of fire-water — to give up lying and stealing and war- 
ring with one another. lie even struck at some of the 
roots of the Me-da-we religion, which he asserted had be- 
come permeated with many evil medicines, and had lost 
almost altogether its original uses and purity. He bade 
the medicine men to throw away their evil and poisonous 
medicines, and to forget the songs and ceremonies attached 
thereto, and he introduced new medicines and songs in 
their place. He prophesied that the day was nigh, when, 
if the red race listened to and obe} T ed his words, the Great 
Spirit would deliver them from their dependence on the 
whites, and prevent their being finally down-trodden and 
exterminated by them. The prophet invited the Ojibways 
to come and meet him at Detroit, where in person, he 
would explain to them the revelations of the "Great Mas- 
ter of Life." He even claimed the power of causing the 
dead to arise, and come again to life. 

It is astonishing how quickly this new belief obtained 
possession in the minds of the Ojibways. It spread like 
wild-fire throughout their entire country, and even reached 
the remotest northern hunters who had allied themselves 


with the Crees and Assiniboines. The strongest possible 
proof which can be adduced of their entire belief, is in 
their obeying the mandate to throw away their medicine 
bags, which the Indian holds most sacred and inviolate. It 
is said that the shores of Sha-ga-waum-ik-ong were strewed 
with the remains of medicine bags, which had been com- 
mitted to the deep. At this place, the Ojibways collected 
in great numbers. Night and day, the ceremonies of the 
new religion were performed, till it was at last determined 
to go in a body to Detroit, to visit the prophet. One hun- 
dred and fifty canoes are said to have actually started from 
Pt. Shag-a-waum-ik-ong for this purpose, and so strong 
was their belief, that a dead child was brought from Lac 
Coutereille to be taken to the prophet for resuscitation. 
This large party arrived on their foolish journey, as far as 
the Pictured Rocks, on Lake Superior, when, meeting with 
Michel Cadotte, who had been to Sauit Ste. Marie for his 
annual outfit of goods, his influence, together with infor- 
mation of the real motives of the prophet in sending for 
them, succeeded in turning them back. The few Ojibways 
who had gone to visit the prophet from the more eastern 
villages of the tribe, had returned home disappointed, and 
brought back exaggerated accounts of the suffering through 
hunger, which the proselytes of the prophet who had gath- 
ered at his call, were enduring, and also giving the lie to 
many of the attributes which he had assumed. It is said 
that at Detroit he would sometimes leave the camp of the 
Indians, and be gone, no one knew whither, for three and 
four days at a time. On his return he would assert that 
he had been to the spirit land and communed with the 
master of life. It was, however, soon discovered that he 
only went and hid himself in a hollow oak which stood 
behind the hill on which the most beautiful portion of 
Detroit City is now built. These stories became current 
among the Ojibways, and each succeeding year developing 



more fully the fraud and warlike purpose of the Shawano, 
the excitement gradually died away among the Ojibways, 
and the medicine men and chiefs who had become such 
ardent believers, hung their heads in shame whenever the 
Shawano was mentioned. At this day it is almost impos- 
sible to procure any information on this subject from the 
old men who are still living, who were once believers and 
preached their religion, so anxious are they to conceal the 
fact of their once having been so egregiously duped. The 
venerable chiefs Buffalo, of La Pointe, and Esh-ke-bug-e- 
coshe, of Leech Lake, who have been men of strong minds 
and unusual intelligence, were not only firm believers of 
the prophet, but undertook to preach his doctrines. 

One essential good resulted to the Ojibways through the 
Shawano excitement — they threw away their poisonous 
roots and medicines ; and poisoning, which was formerly 
practised by their worst class of medicine men, has since 
become almost entirely unknown. So much has been 
written respecting the prophet and the new beliefs which 
he endeavored to inculcate amongst his red brethren, that 
we will no longer dwell on the merits or demerits of his 
pretended mission. It is now evident that he and his 
brother Tecumseh had in view, and worked to effect, a 
general alliance of the red race, against the whites, and 
their final extermination from the " Great Island which 
the great spirit had given as an inheritance to his red chil- 

In giving an account of the Shawano excitement among 
the Ojibways, we have digressed somewhat from the course 
of our narrative. The messengers of the prophet reached 
the Ojibway village at Lac Coutereille, early in the sum- 
mer of 1808, and the excitement which they succeeded 
in raising, tended greatly to embitter the Indians' mind 
against the white race. There was a considerable quantity 
of goods stored in Michel Cadotte's storehouse, which was 


located on the shores of the lake, and some of the most 
foolish of the Indians, headed by Xig-gig (The Otter) — 
who is still 1 living — proposed to destroy the trader's goods, 
in accordance with the prophet's teachings to discard the 
use of everything which the white man had learned them 
to want. The influence of the chief Mons-o-ne at first 
checked the young men, but the least additional spark to 
their excitement caused his voice to be unheard, and his 
influence to be without effect. John Baptiste Corbin, a 
young Canadian of good education, was in charge of the 
post, and through his indiscretion the flame was lighted 
which led to the pillage of the post, and caused him to flee 
for his life, one hundred miles through a pathless wilderness, 
to the shores of Lake Superior. As was the general custom 
of the early French traders, he had taken to wife a young 
woman of the Lac Coutereille village, related to an influen- 
tial family. During the Shawano excitement, he found occa- 
sion to give his wife a severe beating, and to send her away 
almost naked, from under his roof, to her parents' wigwam. 
This act exasperated the Indians ; and as the tale spread from 
lodge to lodge, the young men leaped into their canoes and 
paddling over to the trading house, which stood about one 
mile opposite their village, they broke open the doors and 
helped themselves to all which the storehouses contained. 
Mons. Corbin, during the excitement of the pillage, fled in 
affright. An Ojibway whom he had befriended, followed 
his tracks, and catching up with him, gave him his blanket, 
moccasins, and fire-works, with directions to enable him to 
reach La Pointe, Shag-a waum-ik-ong, on Lake Superior, 
which he did, after several days of hardship and solitary 

This act, on the part of the Lac Coutereille band, was 
very much regretted by the rest of the tribe. Keesh-ke- 

1 A. D. 1852. 



mun, the chief at Lac du Flambeau, was highly enraged 
against this village, and in open council, he addressed the 
ringleaders with the most bitter and cutting epithets. It 
came near being the cause of a bloody family feud, and 
good-will became eventually restored only through the 
exertions of the kind-hearted Michel Cadotte, who, by this 
stroke, became crippled in his means as an Indian trader, 
and who from this time gradually curtailed his business, 
till in the year 1823 he sold out all his interests in the Ojib- 
way trade to his two sons-in-law, Lyman M. and Truman 
A. Warren, and retired to a quiet retreat at La Pointe, 
after having passed forty years in the arduous, active and 
dangerous career of a pioneer fur trader. In 1784 we find 
him wintering;; with a small outfit of goods on the Xum-a- 
ka-gun River, and year after year moving his post further 
westward, leading the Ojibways into richer, but more 
dangerous hunting grounds. In 1792 we find him winter- 
ing on Leaf River of the Upper Mississippi, and in com- 
pany with his elder brother, opening a vast area of Indian 
country, to the enterprise of fur traders. 

The marks of his wintering posts are pointed out at 
Thief River, emptying into Crow Wing, at Leech, Winni- 
peg, and Cass Lakes, at Pokaguma Falls, and at Oak Point, 
on the Upper Mississippi, where he is said again to have 
narrowly escaped the bullets of the wild Indians. At 
Yellow Lake, Snake River, Po-ka-guma (in the St. Croix 
region) and at different points on the Chippeway and Wis- 
consin Rivers, the marks of this old pioneer are still visible. 
Like all other traders who have passed their lifetime in 
the Indian country, possessing a charitable heart and an 
open hand, ever ready to relieve the poor and suffering 
Indian, he died poor, but not unlamented. He was known 
among the Ojibways by the name of Ke-che-me-shane 
(Great Michel). 





State of affairs between the Ojibways and Dakotas on the St. Croix River — 
Two Ojibways, carrying a peace message, are killed by the Dakotas — Re- 
venge of the Ojibways — Battle on " Sunrise Prairie"' — Dakotas attack a 
camp of Ojibway hunters during a term of peace — Ojibways raise a war 
party — They make a midnight attack on a Dakota village at the mouth of 
Willow River— A slight sketch of Waub-ash-aw, a noted Ojibway warrior — 
Bi-aj-ig, " the lone warrior" — Anecdote of his hardihood and bravery — 
Slight sketch of Shosh-e-man — Be-she-ke — Names of living chiefs of heredi- 
tary descent. 

During the middle and latter part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, the hunting camps of the Dakotas and Ojibways 
often met on either banks of the St. Croix River, as iar 
clown as the Falls. Spots are pointed <Tut, on Sunrise, 
Rush, and Snake Rivers, where bloody fights, massacres, 
and surprises have taken place, and where lives of helpless 
women and children, as well as stalwart warriors, have 
been sacrificed to their implacable warfare. It happened, 
sometimes, that the camps of either tribe would meet in 
peace, in order that the hunters might pursue the chase 
during the winter in security. But no sooner did spring 
again make its appearance, than the peace was treacher- 
ously broken, by either party, and war raged again during 
the summer, full as deadly as ever. 

They did not always succeed in their attempts, each fall, 
to smoke the pipe of peace together. On one occasion the 
Ojibway chief, Mons-o-man-ay, sent two of his young men 
with a peace pipe to a large camp of Dakotas who were, as 
usual in the fall, approaching to make their winter hunts 
on the St. Croix River. These young men were received* 
in the enemies' lodges and treacherously killed. They were 
relatives of the Ojibway chieftain, and he made prepara- 



tions during the winter to revenge their death. He col- 
lected u large party of warriors, and when the snow melted 
from the ground, he followed the trail of the Dakotas as 
they returned towards their villages on the Mississippi. 
He caught up with their camp, at a prairie on Sunrise 
River. They numbered many lodges, and around their 
camp they had thrown up an embankment of earth about 
four feet high. In order to more readily accomplish his 
vengeance, the chief approached the encampment in open 
day, after the Dakota hunters had dispersed for the day's 
chase. He approached with the semblance of a peace party, 
carrying the white man's flag at the head of his long line 
of warriors. The enemy for a time appeared uncertain 
how to receive him, but as they saw the Ojibways continue 
slowly to advance to the very foot of their defences, two 
warriors, unarmed, rushed forth to meet them, thinking 
that they came in peace. Without waiting for the orders 
of their chief, some of the young Ojibway warriors imme- 
diately fired on them. One succeeded in making his escape, 
while the bleeding scalp of the other dangled on the belt 
of a warrior. 

The Ojibways ran up to the Dakota defences, from be- 
hind which they fired repeated volleys into the defenceless 
lodges within, thus turning to their own advantage the 
embankment of earth which the enemy had formed with 
such great labor. The Dakota hunters, hearing the noise 
of the battle, flew back to their camp, and the fight every 
moment, as their ranks increased, became more hotly 
contested. Towards evening the Ojibways were dislodged 
from their position, and forced to retreat, with the loss of 
several killed and many wounded. The loss to the Dakotas 
which was much greater, judging from long rows of graves 
they left on the spot, and which my informants assert, are 
still plainly discernible within the inclosure of the earthen 



Several years after this occurrence, the Dakotas, after 
having made a formal peace with the Ojibways, and agreed 
to hunt in peace and friendship, suddenly attacked a small 
camp of hunters and killed several women and children. 
During the summer following, the Ojibways collected to 
the number of sixty warriors, and proceeded down the St. 
Croix River, to revenge this act of perfidy. They discov- 
ered their enemies encamped in a large village near the 
mouth of Willow River. They approached the camp dur- 
ing the middle of a pitchy dark night, and the chiefs 
placed two or three men to stand by each lodge, into 
which, at a given signal, they were to fire a volley, aiming 
at the spots where they supposed the enemy were lying 
asleep. Immediately loading their guns, when the inmates 
of the lodges would jump up in affright:, they were to lire 
another volley and immediately retreat, as even the lodges 
of the Dakotas many times outnumbered the warriors of 
the Ojibways, and the enemy were too strong to risk with 
them a protracted fight. They judged also that the Da- 
kotas were preparing to go on a war party, from the war- 
songs, drumming, and dancing which they had kept up 
throughout the village during the evening. 

The orders of the Ojibway leader were strictly adhered 
to, and but two volleys were poured into the enemies' lodges, 
when the party suddenly retreated. The Dakotas, how- 
ever, recovering from the first surprise of the sudden and 
unexpected attack, grasped their arms and rushing forth, 
a hundred warriors were soon on the rear of the midnight 
invaders. The Ojibways, anxious for a fight, made a stand, 
and a fierce fight ensued in the darkness, the combatants 
aiming at the flashes of their enemies' musketry. The 
bravest warriors gradually approached to within a few 
feet of one another, in the midst of the darkness, when 
a Dakota chief was heard to s;ive orders to his people in a 
loud voice, to divide into two parties, and making circuits 



to the right and left, surround the enemy and cut off their 
retreat. An Ojibway warrior, who had been a captive 
among the Dakotas, understanding these orders, quietly 
informed his fellows, and when the enemy's fire slackened 
in front, they made a silent hut quick retreat. 

They had arrived but a short distance from the scene of 
action, when they suddenly heard the firing and yelling of 
a fierce fight, at the spot which they had just left. The 
noise lasted for some minutes, and the Ojibways learnt 
afterwards, that their enemy, dividing into two parties, 
with intent to surround them, had met in the darkness and 
mistaking one another for Ojibways, they had fired several 
volleys into each other's ranks, and continued to fisdit till, 
by their manner of yelling the war-whoop, they had dis- 
covered their mistake. The Dakotas, on this occasion, 
suffered a severe loss, infinitely aggravated from the fact 
of their having inflicted a portion of it on themselves. 
They consequently abandoned the war party, for which 
they- had been making preparation. The slightest rebuff' 
of this nature, always leads to the disorganization of a 
war party when on the point of starting. The slightest 
accidents, or evil omens, will send them back even when 
once fairly started on their expedition. 

Several warriors have arisen from the ranks of the St. 
Croix Ojibways who have distinguished themselves by 
deeds of great bravery, and whose names consequently live 
in the traditions and lodge stories of their people. Waub- 
ash-aw was the name of one, of part Dakota extraction, 
who flourished as a brave and successful war-leader, during 
the middle of the past century. He fought in many en- 
gagements, and was eventually killed at the battle of St. 
Croix Falls. He was one of the spiritual, or clairvoyant, 
leaders of the war party who fought on this occasion, and 
is said to have predicted his own death. 



When the Ojibways first took possession of the St. Croix 
River region, four generations ago, while still carrying on 
an active war with the Odugamies (Foxes), a warrior 
named Bi-a-jig became noted for the bravery and success 
with which he repelled the oft-repeated attacks of the 
Foxes and Dakotas. 

He was accustomed to leave his family at Sha-ga-waum- 
ik-ong, or some other place of safety, and, entirely alone, 
he would proceed to the hunting grounds of his enemies, 
and in their very midst pursue his hunts. Numberless 
were the attacks made on his isolated little lodge by the 
Foxes, but he as often miraculously escaped their bullets 
and arrows, and generally caused many of their warriors 
to " bite the dust." Each spring he would return to his 
people's villages with nearly as many human scalps dan- 
gling to his belt as there were beaver skins in his pack. 

So 'often did the Foxes attack him without success, by 
night and day, that they at last considered him in the light 
of a spirit, invulnerable to arrows and bullets, and they 
allowed him to pursue the chase wherever he listed, unmo- 
lested. Such a fear did they have of his prowess, that 
whenever they attacked a camp of Ojibways, if the defence 
appeared unusually desperate, they would call out to in- 
quire if Bi-a-jig was present, and on that warrior showing 
himself, the assailants would immediately desist from the 
attack and retreat. 

The following characteristic anecdote is related, illus- 
trating the hardihood and bravery of Bi-a-jig: After the 
Foxes had been driven by the Ojibways from the midland 
country between the Mississippi and Lake Superior, they 
retired towards Lake Michigan, and on Green Bay they 
located themselves in a large village. They sued for peace 
with the Ojibways, which, being granted, it became cus- 



tomary for parties from either tribe, to pay one another 
visits of peace. On one occasion, Bi-a-jig joined a small 
party of his people, who proceeded to pay a visit to the 
village of the Foxes on Green Bay. They were well re- 
ceived, and entertained with divers feastings and amuse- 

One day the Foxes proposed a grand war-dance, where 
the w f arriors of each tribe should have license to relate their 
exploits in war. The dance was held in a long lodge 
erected purposely for the occasion. The men of the Ojib- 
ways were seated on one side of this lodge, while the more 
numerous Foxes occupied the other. A red stake was 
planted in the centre, near which was also planted a war- 
club, w T ith which each warrior, wishing to relate his exploits, 
was to strike the red stake, as a signal for the music and 
dancing to cease. The dancing commenced, and as the 
w r arriors circled the stake, occasionally yelling their fierce 
war-whoop, they soon became excited, and warrior after 
warrior plucked the club and told of bloody deeds. 

Among the Ojibways was an old man, bent with age and 
sorrow. In the course of the late war with the Foxes he 
had lost ten sons, one after another, till not a child was 
left to cheer his fireside in his old age. Often had he gone 
on the war trail to revenge his losses, but he always re- 
turned without having seen the enemy. On the occasion 
of this dance, he sat and listened to the vaunts of his chil- 
dren's murderers, and he could not ease the pain at his 
heart, by being able to jump up and tell of having in turn 
killed or scalped a single Fox. 

Among the Foxes was a warrior noted far and wide for 
his bravery and numberless deeds of blood. He was the 
first war-chief of his tribe, and his head was covered with 
eagle plumes, each denoting an enemy he had slain, a scalp 
he had taken, or a captive wdiom he had tortured to death. 
This man again and again plucked the war-club to relate 

"striking the red stake." 


his exploits. He related, in the most aggravating manner, 
of having captured an Ojibway youth and burnt him at 
the stake, vividly describing his torments. From the time 
and place where this capture was made, the old Ojibway 
knew that it was one of his sons, and under a feeling of 
deep aggravation, he jumped up, and grasping the war- 
club, he struck the red stake, but all he could say, was : 
"I once packed my little mat (war-sack), and proceeded 
towards the country of my enemies," then take his scat in 

The Fox warrior judged from this that he was the father 
of the youth whom he had tortured ; and again grasping 
the club, he told of another whom he had captured and 
burnt with fire ; then dancing in front of the old man, he 
yelled his war-whoop in aggravation. In quick succession 
he told of another and another he had taken, and treated in 
like manner, addressing himself to the bereaved father, of 
whose children he knew he was telling, vividly describing 
their tortures, and enjoying the deep anguish which his 
words caused in the breast of the poor old man, whose sor- 
rowing- and aged head huns: lower and lower between his 
knees. Aggravated beyond measure, once more he jumped 
up, but all he could say was as before : u I once packed 
my little mat, and proceeded to the country of my enemies," 
and as he took his seat, he was jeered with laughter by the 
Foxes, who revelled in his distress. Once more, amidst the 
encouraging yells of his fellows, the Fox war-chief grasped 
the war-club, and dancing before the old man, he told of 
another of his sons whom he had treated with aggravated 

Bi-a-jig had sat calmly by, smoking his pipe. Xot join- 
ing in the dance, he had taken silent notice of the whole 
scene. His heart yearned for his old comrade, whose sor- 
rows were being so wantonly opened afresh, by the cruel 
and ungenerous Foxes. His party was but a handful in 



the midst of their numerous enemies, but this did not deter 
him from following the impulse of his good nature, lie 
had borne the aggravating yells of the Foxes as long as his 
patience could last, and the moment the Fox war-chief re- 
turned the club to its place, amidst the cheers of his fellows, 
Bi-a-jig sprang up, and grasping the club, he struck the 
vaunting warrior in the mouth, and brought him to the 
ground, exclaiming, "My name is Bi-a-jig; I too am a 
man!" As the Fox warrior arose to his feet, Bi-a-jig 
again struck him on the mouth, and exclaimed. " You call 
yourself a man. I too am a man ! we will fight, to see 
who will live to tell of killing a warrior 1" 

During this scene the Foxes had grasped their arms, and 
the Ojibways, though far outnumbered even within the 
lodge, jumped up and yelled their Avar whoop, all of course 
supposing that the Fox war-chief, who had made himself 
so conspicuous, would resent the blow of Bi-a-jig, which 
act would have led to a general battle. The disgraced 
warrior, however, disappointed their expectation. He 
quietly arose and left the lodge, with the blood gushing 
from his battered mouth. The old man, whose feelings 
he had been so unwarrantably harrowing, pointed at him 
with his fore-finger, and yelled a jeering whoop. His re- 
venge was sweet. 

The name of Bi-a-jig had become a common household 
word with the Foxes, with which mothers quieted their 
children into silence, and scared them into obedience. 
Their knowledge of his prowess, and belief in his being in- 
vulnerable, saved his Ojibway peace party from total de- 
struction on this occasion. 

Shosh-e-man (Snow Glider) became noted as a war-chief 
during the latter part of the eighteenth century. He be- 
longed to the Awause Totem Clan. He was much loved 
by the traders, for his unvarying friendship to the whites. 
In company with John Baptiste Cadotte, he often encount- 




ered great danger in attempts to make peace with the Da- 
kotas. He was also noted for great oratorical powers, and 
he is mentioned by some of the old traders who knew him 
as being the most eloquent man the Ojibways have ever 
produced. Ko-din, his son, succeeded him in his rank as 
chief of a portion of the St. Croix district. He is also dead, 
and none are now living to perpetuate the chieftainship of 
this family. 

Birfialo, of the Bear Clan, also became noted as a chief 
of the St. Croix Ojibways, in fact superseding in import- 
ance and influence the hereditary chiefs of this division. 
Having committed a murder, he originally fled from the 
Sault Ste. Marie and took refuge on the St. Croix. The 
traders, for his success in hunting, soon made him a chief 
of some importance. His son, Ka-gua-dash, has succeeded 
him as chief of a small band. 

The descendants of the hereditary chief of the "Wolf To- 
tem, are, xsa-guon-abe (Feather End), and Mun-o-min-ik-a- 
sheen (Rice Maker), chiefs of Mille Lac ; I-aub-aus (Little 
Buck), chief of Rice Lake, and Shon-e-yah, (Money), chief 
of Pokaguma. 

As has been remarked in a former chapter, the jib way 
pioneers on the St. Croix first located their village at 
Rice Lake, and next at Yellow Lake. The villages at 
Pokaguma and at Knife Lake are of comparative recent 
origin, within the memory of present living Indians. 

About thirty years ago [1820] the Ojibways were, many 
of them, destroyed by the measles, or the " great red skin,"' 
as they term it, on the St. Croix ; whole communities and 
families were entirely cut off, and the old traders affirm 
that at least one-third of the " Rice Makers," or St. Croix 
Indians, disappeared under the virulence of this pestilence. 
Other portions of the tribe did not suffer so much, though 
some villages, especially that of Sandy Lake, became nearly 




Present number of the Pillager warriors — Their reputation for bravery — Severe 
fight with the Dakotas at Battle Lake, and great sacrifice of their warriors 
— Exploit of We-non-ga — Night attack on a camp of Dakotas at Chiefs 

Notwithstanding the continual drain made in their 
ranks by their inveterate and exterminating war with the 
Dakotas, the large band of the Ojibways who lived on 
Leech Lake, and had become known by the name of Pilla- 
gers, continued gradually to increase in numbers, through 
accessions from the more eastern villages of their tribe. 
Their men capable of bearing arms (most of whom have 
actually seen service) number, at the present time, 1 about 
three hundred. They have ever borne the reputation of 
being the bravest and most warlike division of the Ojib- 
ways, from the fact of their ever having formed the van- 
guard of the tribe, and occupied the most dangerous ground 
in their westward advance and conquests. As a sample of 
their bravery and hardihood, we shall devote this chapter 
in giving an account of one of their numerous and bloody 
rencontres with the Dakotas, wherein they lost many of 
their bravest w r arriors. 

Abo at fifty-seven years ago, John Baptiste Cadotte (who 
has already been mentioned in previous chapters) arrived 
at Ked Cedar, or Cass Lake, late in the fall, with a supply 
of goods, ammunition, and other necessaries, intending to 
pass the w T inter in trading with the Pillagers and northern 
Ojibways. The Pillagers, at their village on Leech Lake, 
w T ere preparing to go on a grand war party against the Da- 

1 A. D. 1852. 



kotas, but being destitute of ammunition, tbe men repaired 
in a body to Cass Lake, to procure a supply from the trader 
who had so opportunely arrived. It being contrary to his 
interests as a trader, that the Indians should go to war at 
this season of the year, Mons. Cadotte endeavored to dis- 
suade them from their purpose. He invited them to coun- 
cil, and after stating to them his wishes, he presented some 
tobacco, and a small keg of liquor to each head, or repre- 
sentative chief, of the several grand clans, or totems, and 
promised them, that if they would give up their present 
warlike intentions, and hunt well during the winter, in the 
spring he would give them all the ammunition he might 
have on hand, to use against their enemies. 

These rare presents, and promise, in connection with Ca- 
dotte's great influence among them as their relative, in- 
duced the Pillagers to promise to give up their general war 
party. With their present of fire-water, they returned to 
their village at Leech Lake, to hold a grand frolic, which, 
in those early days, were seldom and far between. When 
their revel had been ended, and all had once more become 
sober, one morning at sunrise Uk-ke-waus, an elderly man 
who had that fall returned to his people after a long resi- 
dence among the Crees of Red River, walked slowly 
through the village from lodge to lodge, proclaiming in a 
loud voice that he was determined on going to war, and 
calling on all those who considered themselves men to 
join him, and pay no attention to the words of the trader. 

The next day this obstinate old warrior, with his four 
sons, left the village, and proceeded on the war-path 
against the Dakotas. He was followed by forty-five war- 
riors, many of whom, it is said, went with great reluctance. 
To sustain this assertion, an anecdote is told of one, who, 
that morning, had determined to raise camp, to proceed on 
his fall hunt for beaver. He requested his wife to pull 
down their lodge, and gum the canoe, preparatory to leav- 



ing, but the wife appeared not to notice his words. He 
spoke to her a second time, and she still remaining un- 
mindful, the husband got up, and taking down his gun he 
left the lodge, remarking, " Well, then, if you refuse to do 
as I wish you, I will join the warriors." He never returned 
to his disobedient wife, and his bones are bleaching on the 
sandy shores of Battle Lake. 

After four days' travel to the westward, the war party 
arrived in the vicinity of Leaf Lake, within the country 
of their enemy, and discovered fresh signs of their hunters. 
In the evening they heard the report of Dakota guns 
booming in the distance. Early in the morning of the 
fifth day, they came across a beaten path, following which 
led them towards a»large lake, which, from the ensuing . 
fight, has borne the name of Lac du Battaile, or Battle 
Lake. As they neared this lake, they again heard the 
report of the enemy's guns, gradually receding in the dis- 
tance, as if they were moving away from them. Uk-ke- 
waus > the leader of the party, insisted that the Dakotas 
must have discovered them, and were running away, and 
he importuned the party to quicken their steps in pursuit. 
The leading, and more experienced warriors, however, 
halted, and filling their pipes, gravely consulted amongst 
themselves the best course to be pursued. From the re- 
peated firing of guns, in almost every direction,, it was 
argued that the enemy must be occupying the country in 
great force, and probably some of their hunters, having 
discovered their trail, were preparing to cut off their retreat. 
A return home was seriously talked of under these circum- 
stances, but Uk-ke-waus, being a passionate and withal a 
determined man, violently opposed this measure, and up- 
braided his fellows for their faint-heartedness in unmeas- 
ured terms. On this, the determination of their warriors 
was instantly formed, for none could brook the reproval of 



The party continued their onward course, and followed up 
the enemy's trail with quickened steps. Arriving on the 
lake shore, they "beheld the late deserted encampment of their 
enemies, who had just moved off, and whose lodge fires 
were still brightly burning. As the Pillagers made their 
appearance on a rise of ground overlooking the deserted 
camp, three young men of the Dakotas suddenly jumped 
up from around a fire, where they had been sitting, and 
casting their eyes on the group of warriors who were fast 
approaching, and recognizing them for Ojibways, they fled 
towards the lake shore. Urged on by the old warrior, the 
Pillagers increased their speed to a full run. On arriving 
at the lake shore, they perceived in the distance the mov- 
ing camp of their enemies, winding along the sandy beach, 
which stretched for two miles to their right. Some were 
on horseback, others on foot, and all packing along their 
leathern lodges, traps, and various camping equipage. It 
was not long before the moving Dakotas perceiving war- 
rior after warrior collecting in their rear, apparently in 
full pursuit of them, and seeing the three young men who 
had been left as a rear guard, running and occasionally throw- 
ing up their blankets in warning, became panic-stricken, 
and dropping their loads, a general flight commenced. 

Urged on by the apparent confusion and fear caused by 
their presence, amongst the ranks of their enemies, the 
Pillagers rushed on as if to a feast, and " first come was to 
be best served." About half their number, thinking to 
head the fleeing enemy, left the sandy beach of the lake, 
and ran around a swamp which lay between the narrow 
beach and the main land. This intended short cut, how- 
ever, only led them astray, as they could not get around 
the swamp without going a great distance out of the way 
which the enemy were pursuing. In the mean time the 
Dakotas disappeared one after another in a deep wood 
which stood at the extreme end of the sand beach. Three 



Pillager braves, who, being excellent runners, kept some 
distance ahead of their fellows, fearlessly followed after 
them. They ran through the woods and emerged upon an 
open prairie, where they were struck with surprise, at sud- 
denly perceiving long rows of Dakota lodges. The fleeing 
camp had joined another, and together they numbered three 
hundred lodges. Guns were firing to call in the stra^ling 
hunters, drums were beating to collect the warriors, many 
of whom, already prepared for battle, their heads decked 
with plumes and their bodies painted in red and black, made 
a terrific appearance as they ran to and fro, marshalling the 
younger warriors and hurrying their preparations. 

One look was sufficient for the three panting Pillagers, 
and amid a shower of bullets which laid one of them in 
death, the survivors turned and ran back, and as they met 
their fellows, they urged on them the necessity of imme- 
diate flight, for it was impossible to resist the numbers 
which their enemies were about to turn against them. 
Heated, tired, and panting for breath, the Pillagers could 
not think of flight. Their utmost exertions had been spent 
in a foolish and fruitless chase, and they could now do no 
more than die like men. Deliberately they chose their 
ground, at a place where a small rivulet connected the 
lake, through the narrow neck of sand beach, with a wide 
swamp. Here they could not be surrounded, and when 
half of their number had collected, they hid in the tall 
grass which grew on either side of the little creek, and 
here, entirely commanding the narrow pass, they awaited 
in ambush the coming of the Dakota warriors, who soon 
appeared from the woods, and marshalled in long lines on 
the lake shore, dressed and painted for battle. Their ad- 
vance was imposing. They were led on by a prominent 
figure who wore a blue military coat, and who carried con- 
spicuous on his breast a large silver medal, denoting his 
rank as chief. In one hand he brandished only a long spear, 



while in the other he carried aloft the war ensign of 
plumes, and as he came on, running from side to side, in 
front of his warriors, to keep them in line and check, he 
exhorted them to act like men with a loud voice. 

Breathlessly the tired Pillagers crouched in the grass, 
awaiting the onset. The imposing array of their enemies 
had already reached within range of their bullets, but still 
they kept quiet, unseen in their ambush. The remainder of 
their fellows who had attempted to run around the swamp, 
finding out their mistake, had returned, and were now run- 
ning up the sandy beach to the support of their fellows. 
On these the Dakotas turned their attention, and, unsus- 
pecting, they marched right on their hidden enemies. The 
first gun fired by the Pillagers brought down the noble* 
form of their leader. A yell of rage issued from the ranks 
of the Dakotas, and instead of dodging here and there, 
hiding behind trees, or throwing themselves in the tall 
grass, as they generally do in battle, they rushed forward 
in a body, determined to annihilate at one blow their fee- 
ble and tired enemy. Their front ranks, however, fell be- 
fore the united volleys of the Pillagers, and the battle now 
commenced in earnest. 

Retiring behind the shelter of trees, the Pillagers for a 
time kept up the hopeless contest, being every moment 
joined by their fellows who had been left behind. Last of 
the stragglers, when over one half of his comrades had 
been shot down, came Uk-ke-waus, the old warrior who 
had urged them on to the foolish chase. He had four sons 
engaged in the fight, the youngest of whom had been 
killed before the Dakota lodges. As he came up and took 
his stand beside his surviving warriors, the death of his 
favorite son w T as proclaimed to him, and bitter reproaches 
were addressed to him, for causing the untimely death oi 
so many brave men. Determined to save some of his fel- 
lows, if possible, the old warrior called out in a voice di* 



tinctly heard above the din of battle, " Let those who wish 
to live, escape by retreating, while singly I shall stand in 
the path of our enemies 1" The surviving Pillagers, all 
but his three brave sons, took him at his word, and leav- 
ing them to withstand the pursuit of the Dakotas, they 
turned and fled. For a long time the yells of those devoted 
warriors could be heard, as, at each crack of their guns, an 
enemy bit the dust. Volley after volley were fired on them 
in vain. They appeared to have a charmed life, but their 
strength and ammunition failing, the few remaining friends 
to whom by their self-sacrifice they had given life, heard 
from a great distance the exultant yell3 of the Dakotas as 
they silenced them forever, and tore the reeking scalps 
from their heads. 

Not one-third of that Pillager war party ever returned 
to their people. Their bones are bleaching, and returning 
to dust, on the spot where they so bravely fought and fell. 
We-non-ga (the Vulture), one of the leaders of this ill-fated 
war party, though sorely wounded, returned home in 
safety. He was still living a few years since, honored and 
respected by all his people. It was hi3 boast as he struck 
the war-pole, to relate his exploits, that on this bloody 
occasion, he shot down, one after another, seven Dakotas. 
The slaughter in their ranks must have been very consid- 

The beautiful sheet of water where the above related 
event took place, has since then been named by the Ojib- 
ways, Ish-quon-e-de-win-ing (where but few survived). 
The French, from the same circumstance, named it Lac du 
Battaile, interpreted in " Nicollet's map of the Mississippi 
Valley,'' into Battle Lake. 

Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, the venerable chief 1 of the Pillagers, 
from whose lips I have obtained the above account, was a 
young man when the fight at Battle Lake took place. He 

i A. D. 1852. 



was returning to Leech Lake, after a long residence among 
his Cree relations in the north, and was stopping to hunt 
with some friends at Red Lake, when, about midwinter, 
the news of the above battle reached them. There being 
many relatives of the old man Uk-ke-waus and his sons 
residing at Red Lake, at the news of their death, a war 
party was immediately raised, consisting of one hundred 
and thirty warriors, who marched on snow shoes towards 
the hunting grounds of the Dakotas. The young Pillager 
chief joined this party, and proceeded with them to the 
southern base of O-ge-mah-mi-jew, or Chiefs Mountain, 
where they made a night attack on a large camp of the 
enemy, consisting of over fifty lodges. Several volleys 
were fired into the defenceless lodges, and many of the in- 
mates killed and wounded, when, the warriors of the Da- 
kotas briskly firing back, the Ojibways retreated. 

The young chief, with two others, remained for some 
hours in the vicinity of the camp, after their fellows had 
gone, and he vividly describes the plaintive wailing of 
those who had lost relatives in the late attack. There was 
deep mourning in the camp of the Dakotas that bloody 
night! Stealthily approaching the lodges in the darkness, 
the young chief, with his two companions, once more dis- 
charged their guns at their weeping enemies, then turning 
homewards, they ran all night to rejoin their fellows. 

Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe relates as a curious fact, that this war 
party left Red Lake on snow shoes, the ground being cov- 
ered with deep snow. They marched directly westward, 
and having reached the great western plains, they found 
bare ground, left their snow shoes, and walked whole days 
through immense herds of buffalo. 





The Sandy Lake band are nearly destroyed by the Dakotas — Battle of Cross 
Lake, and destruction of an Ojibway camp — Captives taken — Escape of a 
young woman by climbing into a pine tree — The Mississippi Ojibways are 
reinforced through accessions from Lake Superior — Account of the chieftain 
" Curly Head'' — He takes possession of the Crow Wing hunting grounds — 
Vain efforts of the Dakotas to destroy his camp — Chiefs of the Mississippi — 
Lieut. Pike's journey to the sources of the Mississippi — He visits Leech Lake, 
and takes possession of the country for the United States. 

"We will once more return to the division of the Ojib- 
ways, who had made their homes on the waters forming 
the sources of the Mississippi River. It has already been 
related how, in the year 1782, the village of Sandy Lake 
became nearly depopulated by the dreadful ravages of the 
smallpox. This band, however, gradually recovered their 
former strength and numbers, through accessions from the 
villages of their people located on Lake Superior, who 
were drawn to the Mississippi country by the richness of 
the hunting grounds, and facilities of obtaining a plentiful 
and. easy livelihood. 

In the year 1800 (as near as can be judged from the In- 
dian mode of counting time), the ill-fated village of Sandy 
Lake again received a severe blow, which cut off its inhabi- 
tants nearly to a man. On this occasion, however, they 
suffered from the implacable hatred of the Dakotas. As 
it had become customary, in the fall of the year, the hun- 
ters with their families, had gone down the Mississippi, 
and joining with the Pillager camp at Crow Wing, they 
had proceeded to the rich hunting grounds in the vicinity 
of Long Prairie, to pursue the chase during the winter. 
This year the Dakotas did not approach them for the pur- 



pose of making a temporary peace, as they had been accus- 
tomed to do for some years previous. On the contrary, 
they kept a wary watch over the movements of the Ojib- 
way camp, for the purpose of obtaining an opportunity of 
inflicting on them a sudden blow, which might have the 
effect of deterring them from again encroaching on their 
favorite hunting grounds. 

As spring approached, the Ojibways again turned their 
faces homewards, and made slow marches towards their 
villages. The Dakotas collected their warriors, and to the 
number of four hundred men, they stealthily followed the 
return trail of their enemies. At Crow Wing the Pillager 
and Sandy Lake camps, as usual, parted company, and 
moved in different directions. The Dakotas followed the 
smaller camp, which led towards Mille Lac and Sandy 
Lake, and at Cross Lake, thirty miles northeast of Crow 
Wing, they fell on the Ojibw r ays, and destroyed nearly the 
whole camp. The Ojibways, perfectly unaware that the 
enemy was on their tracks in such force, as it was not the 
season of the year when they usually carried on their war- 
fare, had leisurely moved their camp from place to place, 
without taking any precautions to guard against sudden 
attack or surprise. In camping about in a dangerous 
neighborhood, they were accustomed to cut down trees and 
pile logs about their wigwams for defence against mid- 
night attacks; but on this occasion, the fated Ojibways 
failed to follow the usual precautions which might have 
saved them from almost total destruction. 

They encamped one evening at Sa-sub-a-gum-aw, or Cross 
Lake, on a long narrow point covered with pine trees, 
which ran across the lake nearly dividing it in two. They 
numbered eight long, or double wigwams, besides several 
smaller ones, altogether containing over two hundred men, 
women, and children. Luckily, several families residing 
at Mille Lac, had that day parted from the main camp. 



and bad gone in the direction of their village, consequently 
escaping the fate which awaited their fellows. Early the 
next morning, also, a number of women left the camp, to 
carry heavy loads of meat some distance ahead towards 
their next camping ground, intending to return after other 
loads. On their return, hearing the noise of the battle, 
which commenced soon after their departure, they suc- 
ceeded in making their escape. 

Soon after the sun had arisen on this fated morning, 
several of the Ojibway hunters sallied out of their wig- 
wams for the usual day's hunt, intending to rejoin their 
families at the next encampment. On reaching the ice on 
the lake, they perceived several wolves sitting a short dis- 
tance off, apparently watching -the encampment. The 
hunters ran towards them, but as they did so, the seeming 
wolves got up and retreated into the woods which skirted, 
the lake. The hunters instantly recognized them for hu- 
man beings, who, covered with wolf skins, had quietly been 
reconnoitring their camp, and counting their lodges. They 
ran back and gave the alarm, but the Ojibway warriors 
were given but a few moments to make preparations for 
the coming onslaught. 

On being discovered, the Dakotas immediately marshalled 
their forces on the ice, and in long lines, dressed and 
painted for battle, they slowly approached the Ojibway 
encampment. So unusual was this mode of attack, that 
for a moment the Ojibway s were deceived into the belief 
that they came for the purpose of making peace, and under 
this impression two of their bravest warriors, Be-dud and 
She-shebe, ran out upon the ice to meet them. They were 
welcomed with a shower of bullets and arrows. They, 
however, bravely stood their ground, and returned the fire 
of the enemy, and their fellow warriors joining them, a 
fierce fight ensued on the ice, which soon became crimsoned 
with blood. 



Many times outnumbered by their enemies, the few sur- 
viving warriors of the Ojibways were finally forced to take 
shelter near their wigwams, but the Dakotas entirely sur- 
rounded them. After a brave, but hopeless, defence, their 
guns were silenced forever, and their scalps graced the 
belts of their victorious enemies. After annihilating the 
men, the Dakotas rushed into the perforated wigwams, and 
massacred the women and children who had escaped their 
bullets. Some few children were spared, who were after- 
wards adopted into the families of their captors. Some 
have since returned to their people and are still living, 1 
who speak the Dakota tongue with great fluency. A 
grandson of the chief Bi-aus-wah was captured on this occa- 
sion, and he is said to be still living 1 amongst his captors, 
at an advanced age, and much respected by them. 

The narrative of this bloody event was related to the 
writer by an aged woman, who is now 1 the mother and 
grandmother of a large and respectable family of half-breed 
children. She was a young maiden at the time of the 
massacre, and being present, she witnessed all its terrible 
'incidents. She escaped the fate of her fellows by climbing 
into a pine tree, the thick foliage of which effectually 
screened her from the eyes of the bloody Dakotas. After 
they had finished the work of scalping and mutilating the 
dead, and setting the wigwams on fire, they left their 
bloody work, and returned homeward, singing songs of 
triumph. The young woman descended from her perch in 
the pine tree, and vividly she describes the scene which 
presented itself to her eyes as she walked about the encamp- 
ment, weeping bitter tears for her murdered relatives. 
The defence had been so long and desperate, that not a 
lodge pole, or shrub about the late encampment, but what 
had the marks of bullets or arrows. 

1 A. D. 1852. 



This was a terrible blow on the Ojibways who had taken 
possession of the Upper Mississippi country, and they felt 
it severely. But it did not have the effect of causing them 
to evacuate the hunting grounds, which cost them so much 
blood. On the contrary, they held their vantage ground 
against the Dakotas with sreater determination and 
tenacity, and their warriors who had been slain at Cross 
Lake being soon replaced by others from Lake Superior, 
they were enabled, in a few years, to inflict a terrible retri- 
bution on the Dakotas. 

It is at this time that the celebrated chief, Ba-be-sisr-aun- 

> CD 

dib-ay, or " Curly Head," first made his appearance on the 
Upper Mississippi. He belonged to the Crane family, and 
removed to this region with a small camp of his relatives 
from the shores of the Great Lake. He did not stop at 
Sandy Lake, but proceeded down the Mississippi, and 
located his camp in the vicinity of Crow Wing, on a plenti- 
ful hunting ground, but in dangerous proximity to the 
Dakotas. The bravest warriors and hunters of the Missis- 
sippi Ojibways joined his camp and they soon formed a 
formidable body of hardy and fearless pioneers, who, ever 
wary against the advances of their enemies, were never 
attacked by them with impunity. Twice the Dakotas en- 
deavored to destroy this daring band by sudden night at- 
tacks, but each time they were repulsed with severe loss. 

Curly Head was much respected and loved by his people. 
In the words of one of their principal warriors, " He was a 
father to his people ; they looked on him as children do to 
a parent ; and his lightest wish was immediately performed. 
His lodge was ever full of meat, to which the hungry and 
destitute were ever welcome. The traders vied with one 
another who should treat him best, and the presents which 
he received at their hands, he always distributed to his 
people without reserve. When he had plenty, his people 
wanted not." 



His band increased in numbers, and they eventually 
held the Crow Wins; country without incurring the yearly 
and continued attacks of the Dakotas, who were thus 
finally forced to give up this portion of their hunting 
grounds and retire further doAvn the Mississippi. The 
present Mississippi and Gull Lake band proper, now 1 num- 
bering about six hundred souls, are the descendants of this 
hardy band of pioneers. 

Curly Head became the third principal chief on the Upper 
Mississippi. He ruled the " men of the great river," while 
Ka-dow-aub-e-da (Broken Tooth), son of Bi-aus-wah, ruled 
the Sandy Lake village, and Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, bette"* 
known as Flat Mouth, presided over the Pillagers. 

These three noted chiefs are mentioned by Lieut. Zebu- 
Ion M. Pike, in his narrative of a journey to the sources of 
the Mississippi in 1805. The visit of this officer is an 
event of considerable importance to the Ojibways of the 
Upper Mississippi, as they date from it their first inter- 
course with the u Long Knives,'' or citizens of the United 
States. Previous to this time, they had been altogether 
^ under British influences, and all their chiefs wore the 
- badges and medals of Great Britain, and her flag. They 
held intercourse only with British traders of the Northwest 
and Hudson's Bay companies, as the Americans had not as 
yet commenced to compete with these powerful companies 
in the fur trade. The object of the L T nited States govern- 
ment in sending this expedition to the sources of the Mis- 
sissippi, was to explore the country and take formal pos- 

Lieut. Pike proceeded up the Mississippi with a party 
of soldiers in batteaux. Cold weather and ice prevented 
his further progress at the foot of Pike's Rapids, about 
thirty miles below the confluence of the Crow Wing with 

« A. D. 1852. 



the Mississippi, and here he was obliged to pass the win- 
ter, erecting comfortable quarters for his people, and col- 
lecting an ample supply of provisions from the abundance 
of game, buffalo and elk, which at that time covered this 
portion of the Upper Mississippi country. During the 
winter he proceeded with a party of his people to Leech 
Lake, where the Northwest Fur Company held a stock- 
aded trading post, and here he formally proclaimed our 
right to the country, by planting a flag staff on which 
waved, for the first time, the stars and stripes. On this 
occasion, the young Pillager chief and warrior, Esh-ke- 
bug-e-coshe, who already held unbounded influence over 
his fellows, exchanged his British flag and medal for the 
flag and medal of the United States ; and as the now aged 
chief expresses himself, "he ceased to be an Englishman, 
and became a Long Knife." 

During this journey, Lieut. Pike had t intercourse also 
with the chiefs, Curly Head and Broken Tooth, and recog- 
nized their rank and authority by bestow ing on each a 
medal and flag. 





"Waub-o-jeeg, 2d, killed by the Dakotas at Mille Lac— Curly Head and Flat 
Mouth collect a war party to avenge his death — Attack on a Dakota camp at 
Long Prairie — " Strong Ground" first distinguishes himself for bravery — 
Dakotas evacuate the Long Prairie River country — Battle at Pembina be- 
tween Ojibways and Dakotas— Son of the chief " Little Clam" killed — Re- 
venge of the father — Death of Ta-bush-aw — Ojibway hunters congregate on 
the Red River — Extent of the border on which the warfare of the Ojibways 
and Dakotas is carried on — Origin of the name for Thief River. 

Half a century since, there flourished as one of the prin- 
cipal leaders of the Ojibway warriors on the Upper Mis- 
sissippi, a man whose name was "\Vaub-o-jeeg, or White 
Fisher (namesake to the celebrated chief who, eighty years 
ago, 1 led his people against the allied Foxes and Dakotas at 
the battle of St. Croix Falls). Waub-o-jeeg was a warrior of 
some distinction. He possessed much influence with, and 
was loved and respected by his people. His lodge was 
ever filled with the fruits of the successful chase, to which 
the hungry were always welcome. His social pipe was 
ever full, and the stem often passed around among his fel- 
lows. 'He was always foremost in defence of his people, 
when, as it too often happened, the startling war-whoop of 
their enemies fearfully broke on the morning stillness of 
their sleeping encampment I A successful and adventurous 
hunter, a brave and daring warrior, ~\Vaub-o-jeeg, who was 
ever foremost on the dangerous hunting grounds of the 
Dakotas, at last, in the prime of life, fell a victim to his 

A few years after the battle and massacre at Cross Lake, 
one summer, while encamped near Mille Lac, in company 

i A. D. 1852. 



with another warrior named She-shebe (who had distin- 
guished himself on this bloody occasion), a Dakota war 
party suddenly fell on them early one morning, and being 
unprepared to resist the attack, they, with their wives and 
children, were killed and scalped. Waub-o-jeeg suffered 
death at the first fire ; but She-shebe had time to grasp his 
gun, and as his foes were eagerly rushing forward to finish 
their work and secure his scalp, he fired in their midst, 
killing one Dakota and wounding another, according to 
their after acknowledgment. The death of these two noted 
warriors, with their families, created a general excitement 
throughout the villages of the whole tribe, and the relatives 
of Waub-o-jeeg lost no time in making preparations to re- 
venge the blow on their enemies. Ba-he-sig-au-dib-ay, or 
Curly Head, chief of the Lower Mississippi, or Gull Lake 
Ojibways, took the matter especially in hand, and late in 
the fall he collected the Sandy Lake warriors at Gull Lake. 
During the summer, Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, or Flat Mouth, 
the Pillager chief, had lost a nephew at the hands of the 
Dakotas, arid to revenge his death, he also collected his 
warriors, and these two noted chiefs met by appointment, 
and joined their respective forces at Crow Wing, from 
which place they jointly led one hundred and sixty war- 
riors into the Dakota country. 

- In those days, the lands w T hich the Ojibways lately sold 
to the United States government, lying between Long 
Prairie and "Watab Rivers, on the west side of the Missis- 
sippi, and now 1 forming the home of the Winnebagoes, 
were favorite hunting grounds of the Sisseton and ^VTarpe- 
ton Dakotas. They were accustomed to rove through it 
each autumn, congregated in large camps, for greater se- 
curity against the Ojibways. On this occasion, the war 
party of Curly Head and Flat Mouth first discovered the 
Dakota trail, at the western extremity of Long Prairie, 

1 A. D. 1852. 



near the present site of the "Winnebago agency. Following 
the trail, they discovered a Dakota encampment consisting 
of about forty lodges, located on the banks of Long Prairie 
River, which they determined to attack. 

The encampment was surrounded during the night, and 
at a given signal, early in the morning, the Ojibways fell 
on the sleeping Dakotas. They fired volley after volley 
into the defenceless lodges, before a single warrior appeared 
to resist the attack. The sharp yell of defiance was at last 
heard issuing from the lips of a Dakota warrior, as he 
rushed bleeding from his lodge, and took a stand to return 
the fire of the assailants. Yell after yell succeeded his, 
and following his brave example, form after form were 
seen issuing from the perforated lodges, till nearly sixty 
Dakotas stood forth to confront their foes, and defend their 
families. The fight is said to have been close and most 
fiercely contested. It lasted till nightfall, when all the 
Dakota warriors but seven had been shot down, and 
silenced forever. Of these seven men, the most daring acts 
of valor are related. Retreating into the lodges, they 
actually kept off the united force of the Ojibways, and 
* finally compelled them to retreat, leaving behind the rich 
harvest of scalps which they had hoped to reap. 

On this bloody occasion the Dakotas sustained a heavy 
loss of life — fully as great as their enemies had suffered at 
Cross Lake. Song-uk-um-ig, or Strong Ground, the elder 
brother of the late celebrated war-chief Hole-in-the-day, 
first distinguished himself for bravery in this fight. Though 
but a mere lad, he was one of the few who daringly ran 
into the very ranks of the Dakotas to secure the scalp of a 
fallen warrior* This brave man, who died a few years 
since, could boast in his time, thirty-six eagle plumes on 
his head-dress, each denoting an enemy whom he had slain, 
or a scalp which he had secured in battle, the first of which 
he earned at Lons: Prairie fi^ht. 



As it afterward appeared by following the movements 
of the remnants of the Dakota camp, their forty lodges had 
been reduced, by the attack of the Ojibways, to but five. 
The loss of the Ojibways was seven killed, besides many 
severely wounded. Fighting from behind the shelter of 
trees and embankments of earth hastily thrown up, they 
had suffered a small loss, considering the length and san- 
guinary nature of the fight. They captured thirty-six 
horses, which, however, not being used to manage, they 
eventually destroyed. The bleaching bones of horse and 
man are still 1 to be seen on the spot where this bloody 
occurrence took place. From this event may be dated 
the final evacuation of the Long Prairie River country by 
the Dakotas. Enticed by the richness of the hunting 
grounds, they would sometimes return, in force, but after 
suffering repeated blows at the hands of the Mississippi 
war-chiefs, Strong Ground and Hole-in-the-day, they event- 
ually gave up possession and all claim on the country 
which now 1 forms the home of the Winnebagoes. 

It happened that on the same day in which the battle 
at Long Prairie took place, a large Dakota war party 
levied from another camp, and attacked a party of Ojib- 
way hunters near Pembina, on the Red River of the north. 
The Ojibways, under the guidance of their chief Ais-sance, 
or Little Clam, made a fierce resistance, and succeeded in 
beating them away from their encampment. The favorite 
son of the Ojibway chieftain was, however, killed, and he 
was rifled of a large British medal which he wore conspic- 
uous on his breast. Ais-sance, in the excitement of battle, 
had not noticed the fall of his beloved son, and he became 
so exasperated when the Dakotas displayed in the midst of 
battle the scalp and medal of his son, that he rushed furi- 
ously in the midst of their ranks, shot down the boasting 
Dakota, and cutting off his head, retreated holding it up 

1 A. D. 1852. 



in triumph, and yelling his war-whoop till he reached a 
secure shelter behind a tree. So struck were the enemy 
by this sudden and daring act of valor, that they fired not 
a shot at the brave warrior till he had reached a place of 

The Ojibways were so exasperated at the loss of their 
young chief, that they fought with unusual fierceness and 
hardihood, and pursued the Dakotas some distance as they 
retreated, notwithstanding they were many times outnum- 
bered by them. An Ojibway hunter named Ta-bush-aw, 
whose wigwam stood some distance from the main camp of 
I Ais-sance, arrived too late on the field to join the fight, but 
' determined to have his share of the sport, and withal a 
scolding wife causing life to be a burden to him, he fol- 
lowed up the retreating war party on horseback, at night, 
accompanied by another hunter, named Be-na. They 
headed the Dakotas, and lying in ambush on their route, 
they fired into their ranks. Be-na, pursuant to the request 
of his fellow hunter, immediately retreated, while Ta-bush- 
j aw kept up the fight with the whole Dakota war party, 
till he fell a victim to his bravery. 

* Instances are not rare, where warriors have sacrificed 
their lives in this manner, either for the sake of being 
mentioned in the lodge tales of their people as brave men, 
to wipe off the slur of cowardice, which for some cause, 
some one of their fellow warriors might have cast on them, 
or more often, through being tired of the incessant scold- 
ings of a virago wife, and other burdens of life equally 
unendurable, as was the case with Ta-bush-aw. 

At this time, the Ojibways occupying the sources of the 
Mississippi and Red River, had forced the Dakotas to re- 
treat west of these two streams. Hunters from Lake Su- 
perior, and even from the Ottoways of Mackinaw, had 
found their way to the Red River of the Xorth, to trap 
beaver, and chase the buffalo, which abounded in these 



regions in great abundance. Thus, a formidable body of 
the tribe had gradually congregated on this remote north- 
west frontier, who nourished under the alliance of the Ke- 
nisteno and Assineboin tribes, to whom, properly, the coun- 
try belonged. They joined their wars against the Yanc- 
ton Dakotas ; and thus, on an uninterrupted line from 
Selkirk's settlement to the mouth of the Wisconsin River, 
over a thousand miles in length, the Ojibways and Dakotas 
carried on against one another their implacable warfare, and. 
whitened this vast frontier with each other's bones. 

For a number of years, on the headwaters of Thief River 
(which empties into Red River below Otter Tail Lake), a 
camp of ten Dakota lodges, succeeded in holding the coun- 
try by evading or escaping the search of the Ojibway war 
parties. Here, loth to leave their rich hunting grounds, 
they lived from year to year in continual dread of an attack 
from their conquering foes. They built a high embank- 
ment of earth, for defence, around their lodges, and took 
every means in their power to escape the notice of the 
Ojibways — even discarding the use of the gun on account 
of its loud report, and using the primitive bow and arrows, 
in killing such game as they needed. They were, how- 
ever, at last discovered by their enemies. The Crees and 
Assineboines, during a short peace which they made with 
the Dakotas, learned of their existence and locality, and 
informing the Ojibways, a war party was raised, who went 
in search of them. They were discovered encamped within 
their earthen inclosure, and, after a brave but unavailing 
defence with their bows and arrows, the ten lodges, with 
their inmates, were entirely destroyed. The embankment 
of earth is said, by Wa-won-je-quon, the chief of Red Lake 
(who is my informant on this subject), to be still 1 plainly 
visible. From this circumstance, the Ojibways named the 
stream (the headwaters of which the Dakotas had so long 

1 A. D. 1S32. 



secretly occupied), Kc-moj-ake-se-be, literally meaning, 
" Secret Earth River," which the French, pronouncing Ke- 
mod-ake, meaning Stealing Earth, has been interpreted 
into Thief River, by which name it is laid down on Nicol- 
let's Map. 





The Dakotas make unusual advances to effect a peace with the Ojibways— 
Shappa, the Yankton Dakota chief— He effects a peace with the Red River 
Ojibways— Dakotas and Ojibways meet on Platte River— Disturbance of the 
peace — Bloodshed is prevented by Wa-nah-ta, son of Shappa — Flat Mouth, 
the Pillager chief, refuses to accept the peace — He mistrusts the intentions 
of the Dakotas — His narrow escape, and discovery of a war trail on Otter 
Tail Lake — Murder of his two cousins — Their brave defence against the 
Dakotas — Flat Mouth prepares for war — Shappa sends him his peace pipe, 
and appoints when and where to meet him — Flat Mouth keeps the appoint- 
ment — He refuses to shed blood on a white man's door-step — Death of 
Shappa, with two of his warriors — He is succeeded by his son, Wa-nah-ta, 
who becomes a noted warrior — Threats of Col. Dickson against Pillagers — 
Fierce battle between Dakotas and Ojibways at Goose River — Black Duck 
distinguishes himself for braver}' — Characteristic manner of a peace effected 
between an Ojibway camp, and Dakota war party on Platte River — The 
chief of Sandy Lake makes a peace visit to the Dakotas — His party narrowly 
escapes destruction — They are saved by the trader Renville — Dakotas kill an 
Ojibway on Gull Lake, and leave the war-club on his body — Quick revenge 
of Curly Head — Five women killed — War-club returned. 

The year after the battle at Long Prairie, the Dakotas, 
along the whole line of their eastern frontiers, made an 
unusual attempt to enter into a general peace with the 
Ojibways. Shappa (the Beaver), head-chief of the Yank- 
ton Dakota3, the most numerous section of this extensive 
tribe, and occupying the most northern position, first made 
advances of peace to the Ojibways on Red River. Some 
years previous he had taken captive a young Ojibway 
woman, who soon became his favorite wife. This woman 
he now placed on a fleet horse, and giving her his peace 
pipe, he bade her to go to her people at Pembina, and tell 
them that in so many days, Shappa would come and 
smoke with them in peace and good-will. 


On the day appointed, the Dakota chief, with a large 
number of his people, made his appearance, and the Red 
River Ojibways accepted his offers of peace. At the same 
time the Sisseton, Warpeton, and M'dewakanton Dakotas, 
in a large camp, approached the Ojibways of the Missis- 
sippi and Sandy Lake, and Mille Lac. The two parties 
met on the banks of Platte River, near its junction with 
the Mississippi, and the peace pipe was formally smoked 
between them, and games of various kinds was played be- 
tween the young men of the two camps. The feeling of 
hatred, however, which rankled in the breasts of the Da- 
kotas against the Ojibways, could not altogether be re- 
strained. At a grand game of ball, or Baug-ah-ud-o-way, 
played between the young men of either tribe for a large 
stake, a disturbance nearly leading to a scene of bloodshed 

One of the seven Dakota warriors who had survived the 
battle at Long Prairie, picked a quarrel with an Ojibway, 
by striking him for some trivial cause, with his ball-stick 
The blow was returned, and the fight would soon have 
become general, had not the young Wa-nah-ta, son of 
Shappa, rushed in, and forcibly separated the combatants, 
inflicting a summary punishment and scolding on his 
fellow Dakota who had commenced the fight. This is 
the first occasion in which- Wa-nah-ta is mentioned by the 
Ojibways. He afterwards became celebrated as a warrior,' 
and a chief of vast influence over the wild Yankton Dako- 

While peace parties thus met above and below him, 
Flat Mouth, the Pillager chief, quietly hunted beaver on 
Long Prairie River. The peace pipe had been sent to him, 
but he had not as yet determined to accept it, for he mis- 
trusted the intentions of the Dakotas in thus unusually 
making the first advance to bury the war-club. The wary 
chieftain could not think them sincere in their proffers of 



good-will and fellowship, so soon after suffering such a 
severe blow as the Ojibways had inflicted on them at Long 
Prairie. He suspected from his knowledge of their char- 
acter, that some deep design of treachery was concealed 
beneath this guise of peace, and he hesitated to place the 
stem of the sacred peace pipe to his lips. 

Flat Mouth, pursuing his hunts, proceeded to Otter Tail 
Lake, and was one eveniug encamped at the outlet of 
Otter Tail Creek, dressing a bear skin, when a feeling of 
fear suddenly came on hini, and in the darkness of night 
he ordered his family to raise camp, for he M felt that the 
Dakotas were in the vicinity." They embarked in their 
canoe, and passing the night on the lake, the next morning 
he landed to reconnoitre. On the prairie which skirted 
the lake shore, he discovered a wide, fresh, Dakota war 
trail! Having left some hunters in his rear towards Leaf 
Lake, and fearing that they might be attacked (as from the 
late reports of peace they hunted in apparent security), he 
followed the trail to satisfy himself as to the direction the 
war party would take. They had passed close to his last 
evening's encampment, where, had he remained, they would 
doubtless have discovered and attacked him. He saw 
their encampment of the past night, and from the marks 
left, he judged the party to be fully four hundred strong, 
marching under tire direction of four different leaders, who 
left their respective marks on the trees. One of these was 
a beaver, which satisfied Flat Mouth that the false Yank- 
ton chief, Shappa, was now working out his treachery, 
after having lulled the habitual caution of the Ojibways by 
his false songs of peace. 

When satisfied that the enemy had gone in the direction 
of Battle Lake, where he knew there were no Ojibways, 
he returned to his family, and again embarking, he pro- 
ceeded down towards Leaf Lake, to warn his people of the 
threatened danger. He was, however, wind-bound one day 



on Otter Tail Lake, and the next morning as he entered 
the creek, he perceived a huge smoke arising in a direc- 
tion where he supposed his two cousins, Xug-an-ash, and 
Blue Eagle, were hunting beaver in an isolated little lake. 
A smoke in a dangerous vicinity is never without mean- 
ing, and satisfied that something serious had befallen his 
cousins, Flat Mouth returned to a party of his people who 
were gathering wild rice in an adjacent lake, and imme- 
diately sent out a party to go and view the spot from 
whence the ominous smoke had arisen. They soon re- 
turned and reported that they had discovered the muti- 
lated remains of his two cousins; with them had been left 
three Dakotas in a sitting position, facing the west, whom 
they had killed. 

The Dakotas afterwards related to Flat Mouth that 
while their war party was stealthily approaching to 
attack the lodge of his two cousins, which stood on the 
borders of a little lake, the two hunters first perceived 
them, from a high wooded promontory of the lake where 
they happened to be busy in cutting poles for stretching 
beaver skins. They first fired on the Dakotas, killing one 
of their number, on which they were furiously attacked, 
but they defended themselves on the narrow point, and 
kept ofT their assailants, till one became wounded, when 
they quickly embarked in their canoe, and paddled to a 
small rock islet, standing in the lake, but which could be 
reached by bullets, or even arrows, from the point which 
they had just left. They, however, made partial defences 
by piling stones around them, from which they kept up 
the fight. The Dakotas surrounded them on all sides, and 
approached their defences by rolling large logs into the 
water, and swimming behind them, gradually pushed them 
towards the island. The two hunters kept them off till 
their ammunition failed, when they fell an easy prey to 
their numerous enemies. Three Dakotas were left on the 



ground whom they killed, and many more were wounded, 
some of whom afterwards died. 

The Pillager chief was very much exasperated at the 
death of his two cousins, and he lost no time in collecting 
a war party to avenge them. His war-pipe and war-club 
were carried by fleet messengers from village to village of 
his people, to inform them of his intention, and inviting 
the warriors to join him. In the mean time a messenger 
came to him from a trading post on Red River, belonging 
to Col. Dickson, with a message from the Yankton chief 
Shappa, denying all participation in the late war party of 
his people, and appointing a day when he should meet 
him at the trading post for the purpose of smoking the 
peace pipe , and strengthening good-will between their 
respective people. Flat Mouth chose thirty of his best 
warriors, and on the appointed day he arrived at the trad- 
ing post on Red River, where he found four Frenchmen 
who had charge of the establishment. On the next day, 
the Yankton chief arrived, accompanied by only two men. 

The warriors of Flat Mouth made demonstrations to 
kill them at once, but Flat Month ordered them to desist, 
as he did not wish " to sully the door-steps of a white man 
with blood." He refused to smoke from the proffered 
pipe-stem of the Dakota chief, and Shappa knew from this 
that his treachery was fully known, and his enemies had 
met to punish him. All night it rained and thundered 
heavily, and mingled with the roaring of the storm with- 
out, there arose the voice of the doomed chieftain, as he 
prayed and sang to the spirits of his belief for protection 
against the threatened danger. Early in the morning, 
Sha-wa-ke-shig, the principal warrior of Flat Mouth, asked 
his chief for permission to kill the three Dakotas. The 
Pillager chief answered : u You know that since the death 
of my cousins, my heart has been sore ; the road which I 
have followed in coming here, is red with blood. The 



Great Spirit has placed these men in our hands that we 
might do with them as we please. Do, therefore, as you 
wish, only do not shed blood on the steps of these white 
men, nor in their presence. Though it is my doing, yet I 
shall not be with you." 

The Ojibways waited till the Dakotas left the shelter of 
the trading post, and escorting them out on the prairie, 
towards their country, they shot them down, and cutting 
off" their heads, they caught up with their chief, who had 
gone on his road homewards, unwilling to witness the 
scene which he knew his warriors were determined to per- 
petrate. Sha-wa-ke-shig is noted as having killed the 
chief Shappa, and secured his scalp. The chiefs medal 
which he wore on his breast, was secured by AVash-kin-e- 
ka (Crooked Arm), a warrior of Red Lake. 

Col. Dickson, who had married a sister of the Yankton 
chief, was very much exasperated at his death, and he sent 
a message to Flat Mouth, that henceforth the smoke of a 
trading house would never more arise from amon^ the Pil- 
lagers ; and within four years the village would be swept 
away." The Pillager chieftain laughed at his threats, and 
he now 1 remarks, that " the traders came to him as usual, 
and his village continued to grow larger, notwithstanding 
the big words of the red-headed Englishman." It is 
doubtless a fact, that Col. Dickson's future treatment of 
this powerful northern chieftain conduced greatly to alien- 
ate him from the British interest, and to strengthen his 
predilections to the American government. He peremp- 
torily refused to join the British in the late war against 
the people of the United States. 

Shappa, the Yankton chief, was succeeded by his son 
"Wa-nah-ta, who became one of the most influential and 
celebrated warriors that the Dakotas can boast of. Dur- 
ing his lifetime he amply revenged the death of his father, 

i A. D. 1852. 



by inflicting repeated blows on the Ojibways of Red River. 
On the death of Shappa, the war again raged on the whole 
frontier between the two belligerent tribes. Wa-nah-ta 
led a large party of his warriors into the Ojibway country, 
towards Red Lake. He was accidentally met by a war 
party of his enemies, headed by the chief, YTash-ta-do-ga- 
wub, and at the entry of Goose River into the Red River, 
a severe fight ensued, which lasted nearly a whole day, 
and which resulted in the retreat of both parties with 
severe loss. Two scouts of the Ojibways, who always kept 
ahead of the main body while on the march, were suddenly 
fired on by the Dakotas, and one killed. In the sangui- 
nary battle which ensued, the Ojibways were so hard pressed 
by the superior numbers of their enemies, that they were 
forced to dig holes in the ground for shelter and defence 
against their missiles. An Ojibway warrior named " Black 
Duck" distinguished himself for bravery in this fight. He 
fought in the foremost ranks, recklessly exposing his per- 
son, and with his own hand killed and scalped seven Da- 

The summer following this eventful year in the annals 
of the Ojibways, the farce of a temporary peace was again 
enacted on Platte River, a short distance below Crow 
Wing. The scouts of a large camp of Ojibways discovered 
a Dakota* war party approaching their encampment, evi- 
dently for the purpose of attack. On account of their 
women and children, who would be the main sufferers in 
case of a battle, the Ojibways determined on a bold man- 
oeuvre, which, if it failed, they were determined to fight 
to the last. A piece of white cloth was attached to a 
pole, and a brave warrior, who offered himself for the pur- 
pose, sallied out singly to meet the enemy. He saw them 
stealthily approaching the encampment, and when per- 
ceived by them, he dropped his gun, and with nothing but 
his flag he fearlessly rushed into their ranks. He was 



I caught in the arms of the foremost warriors, many blows 
of war-clubs were aimed at him, and he expected every 
moment to suffer death ; but a tall Dakota defended him, 
warding off the blows of his angry comrades. After the 
excitement had somewhat cooled down, and the tall war- 
rior had addressed a few words to his fellows, a Dakota 

! whose face was painted black, denoting mourning, for 
whose benefit, probably, the war party were now bent on 
their errand of blood, stepped forth and throwing down 
his arms, he took hold of the Ojibway and offered to 
wrestle with him. The Dakota was thrown to the ground, 
on which he got up, and laughing, he tried his more power- 
ful adversary another hold. He was again thrown, on 
which he shook the Ojibway by the hand and exchanged 
with him his pipe, gun, and clothing. The brave man 
who had thus conquered a peace, led the party to the wig- 
wams of his people, where they saluted one another with 
the firing of guns. The peace pipe was smoked, and for 
several days they literally " eat out of the same dish," and 
" slept under the same lodge covering." 

Shortly after this Dakota war party had returned to 
their homes, emboldened by the cordial and unexpected 
manner in which they had met their advances for peace, a 
small war party of Ojibways, under Broken Tooth, the 
chief of Sandy Lake> proceeded in their birch canoes down 
the Mississippi to the mouth of the Minnesota, to pay the 
Dakotas a visit of peace at their own villages. On the low 
point over which now towers the American fortress known 
as Fort Snelling, the Ojibways first discovered their old 
enemies congregated in a large camp. Broken Tooth, to 
denote his rank, approached with the American flag hang- 
ing over the stern of his canoe. On their being perceived, 
the wildest excitement ensued in the camp. The men ran 
out of their lodges with guns in their hands. The Dakotas 
were preparing to go on a war party against the very people 



who now made their appearance, and the warriors made 
demonstrations to fire on them. Their chiefs interfered, 
but with little effect, and bullets were already flying about 
the ears of the Ojibways, when Renville, an influential Da- 
kota trader and half-breed, made his timely appearance, 
and with a loud voice quelled the disturbance, and took 
the peace party under his protection. The excited war- 
riors, however, insisted on firing a salute, and their bullets, 
for some minutes, spattered the water in every direction 
around the canoes of the Ojibways, and even perforated the 
flag which hung over the head of their chief. The old 
men, still living, 1 who were present on this occasion, de- 
scribe it as the most dangerous scene in their lives. They 
would much rather have met their enemies in open fight 
than bear the long suspense between life and death which 
they perceived hanging over them, the wild excitement 
among the Dakotas, and the bullets whizzing past their 
heads. They all acknowledge that they owed their deliv- 
erance to the timely interference of the trader Renville. 

Broken Tooth and his party made but a short stay in 
the midst of a people who were so anxious to spill their 
blood, and handle their scalps. Under an escort provide 1 
by the kind trader, who guarded them some distance to- 
wards their country, they succeeded in reaching their 
homes in safety, and felt thankful for escaping from such 
a fearful predicament. They had been at home but a few 
days, when a Dakota war party who had followed on their 
tracks, waylaid an Ojibway hunter on the shores of Gull 
Lake, They left a war-club, with a sharp iron spearhead, 
sticking in the mutilated body of their victim. Curly 
Head, the Mississippi chief, immediately collected such 
warriors as were camping with him on. Gull Lake, and in 
their canoes, they floated down the swift current of "the 
great river." They crossed the portage around the Falls 
of St. Anthony during the night, and arrived at the mouth 

1 A. D. 1852. 



of the Minnesota River, the morning after the return of 
the Dakota war party. On the point just below Fort 
Snelling, which was then covered with trees and brush, 
they pulled up, and hiding their canoes, they laid in am- 
bush, commanding the confluence of the Minnesota with 
the Mississippi. 

They could distinctly hear the drums beating in an ad- 
jacent village of their enemies, as they held rejoicings over 
the scalp which their warriors had brought home. Towards 
evening a canoe load of young women came floating .lei- 
surely down the sluggish current of the Minnesota, chat- 
ting and laughing, in anticipation of the magnificent scalp 
dance which they were going to join, after having adorned 
their persons with profuse ornaments, and painted their 
cheeks with vermilion. Little did they dream of the fate 
that awaited them — that their own long scalp-locks would 
so soon dangle in the belt of the fierce Ojibway warriors, 
and that the women of their foe would so soon be rejoicing 
over them. 

"When the canoe had reached opposite the Ojibway am- 
buscade, at a whistle from the leader, a volley of bullets 
was fired into it, and the men, rushing into the water, a 
struggle ensued, who should secure the scalps. Five Da- 
kota women suffered on this occasion, and their bodies 
being dragged on shore, the war-club which their people 
had left sticking in the body of their victim at Gull Lake, 
was left, with peculiar marks, on the body of one, to warn 
the Dakota3 that the revenge of the Ojibway was quick 
and sure. 

The party returned in safety to their village, and their 
exploit, though comparatively of trivial importance, is 
mentioned by their people to this day with great satisfac- 
tion. The quick revenge was sweet, and withal it acted as 
a check in some measure to the continually repeated forays 
and war parties of the bloodthirsty Dakotas. 




OF 1812. 

Mistaken impression respecting the position of the Ojibways during the last 
war — Efforts of British agents to induce them to break their neutrality — 
Col. Dickson sends a messenger to the Pillagers to induce them to join the 
British — Laconic reply of Flat Mouth — Great Cloud, an Ojibway warrior, 
helps the arms of Great Britain — Anecdote of his first acquaintance with 
Col. Dickson, who makes him a chief — Michel and John Baptiste Cadotte, Jr., 
act as British interpreters — Ojibways collect in large numbers at Mackinaw 
—British attempts to induce them to fight the Americans — Opposition of the 
chieftain Keesh-ke-muu — He is called to council, and reprimanded by the 
British commandant — The chieftain's answer — We-esh-coob, the Pillager 
war-chief — He refuses to join the British — His bitter reply to their taunt of 

It has been a general impression throughout the United 
States, that the Ojibways, as a tribe, fought under the flag 
of Great Britain, during the war of 1812. It is not so; 
and it can be stated as a fact, that of the nine thousand 
which this tribe number on Lake Superior, and the Mis- 
sissippi, not more than one or two warriors are mentioned 
as having joined the British. There are several villages of 
Indians in Upper Canada, w T ho are sometimes denominated 
as Ojibways, but who are more properly the remnants of 
the original Algonquins who have always been in the in- 
terest of the British, and aided them in their wars. The 
connection existing between these and the Lake Superior 
and Mississippi Ojibways, is not very close, though they 
speak the same language, and call one another relatives. 

If any of the Ojifrways living within the boundaries of 
the United States fought for the British during the last 
war, it w r as more through coercion than otherwise, and 




they belonged to small bands who lived among the Otta- 
svays at Mackinaw, and who were scattered in Michigan 
among the Pottawatumies and other tribes. The main 
body of the tribe occupying Lake Superior, and the waters 
3f the Mississippi firmly withstood every effort made by 
the British to induce them to enter into the war, and it is 
thus they have succeeded in holding their own in numbers, 
ind in fact, gradually increasing, while other tribes, who 
aave foolishly mingled in the wars of the whites, have be- 
come nearly extinct. 

Agents were sent by the British government to the 
principal villages of the Ojibways, to invite them to join 
;heir arms against the Americans. Col. Dickson, 1 who 
iad long been a trader amongst the Dakotas, and northern 
Djibways, is mentioned as one of the most prominent and 
ictive of the British agents in levying the savage tribes, 
n an exterminating warfare against the men, icomen, and 
children of the United States. 

He sent the British interpreter, St. Germain, in a light 
janoe ; fully manned with Canadian voyageurs, from Tort 
tVilliam to Leech Lake, to obtain the co-operation of the 
Pillagers. He gave presents to Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe (Flat 
^louth), the chief of the warlike band, and in public coun- 
;il he presented the wampum belts of the British agent, 
tnd delivered his message. The Pillager chieftain sent 
)ack the belts with the laconic answer : " When I go war 
igainst my enemies, I do not call on the whites to join my 
varriors. The white people have quarrelled among them- 
elves, and I do not wish to meddle in their quarrels, nor 
lo I intend ever, even to be guilty of breaking the window- 
jlass of a white man's dwelling." 

St. Germain next ur^ed him to visit Col. Dickson at Ft. 
rVilliam, but the chief refused to go, and of all his war- 

1 For notices of Dickson, see Neill's History of Minnesota, 5th edition, 1833. 
linnesota Historical Collections, Vol. I. p. 390. 





riors, but one obeyed the summons of the British agent. 
This one was a noted warrior named Ke-che-aun-o-guet, or 
Great Cloud, whose attachment had been secured by Col. 
Dickson, in the following characteristic manner : — 

Great Cloud was one time, early in the spring, hunting 
in company with a Frenchman near Leaf Lake, while the 
Dakotas still claimed the country about it as their own. 
Early one morning, hearing the report of a gun towards 
Leaf Lake, Great Cloud told his comrade that he knew it 
must be the Dakotas, and he must go and see what they 
were about. Bidding the Frenchman good-bve, savins: 
that he would trv and return during the night, but not to 
wait for him longer than noon the next day, the Indian 
started on his dangerous expedition. Arriving at the out- 
let of Leaf River from the lake, he noticed some maple 
trees freshly tapped, and he soon fell on a beaten path, fol- 
lowing which he soon discovered a log house, surrounded 
by a fence of felled trees. He hid by the roadside between 
the forks of a fallen tree, and there patiently awaited the 
appearance of some Dakota, whose scalp would add another 
eagle plume to his head-dress. 

A woman came from the house to examine the maple 
trees, and gather the sap. She was dressed like a white 
man's squaw, and not wishing to kill a woman, Great 
Cloud did not molest her, but still continued in his am- 
bush. Soon after, two other women, apparently mother 
and daughter, issued from the hut, came close to his hiding 
place, to gather sap. They were both apparently the 
women of some white man, as they were much cleaner and 
dressed far better than squaws usually are, and again the 
warrior refrained from attacking them. Towards evening 
he saw a man going towards the house, carrying some 
swans and ducks on his back, and Great Cloud prepared 
for an onset, but the hunter passed close to the lake shore, 
and out of bullet range. Tired of waiting, he at last 



crawled up to the house and posted himself directly in 
front of the gateway, amongst a clump of stumps. He saw 
a lodge standing within the inclosure on the other side of 
the house, and this he determined to watch till a Dakota 
should issue from it. It was now dusk, and he had re- 
mained in his new position but a moment, in fact had but 
just lighted his pipe, when the two women he had seen in 
the afternoon again came out of the house, and were exam- 
ining a canoe which lay close to him, when they discovered 
the ambushed warrior. They immediately ran screaming 
into the house, from whence a white man with a large head 
of red hair soon issued, carrying a tremendous sword under 
his arm, and a gun in his hand. This was Col. Dickson. 
He walked up to Great Cloud, who was quietly smoking 
his pipe, and presenting his gun to his breast, demanded 
in broken Ojibway, u who he was, and what he wanted?" 
The Indian answered, that u he was Great Cloud, an Ojib- 

| way warrior, and he had come to look for Dakota scalps." 
The trader then told him that the Dakotas were all gone, 

i and that there was no one with him but a Menominee In- 
dian. He inquired if there were any more of his people 
with him, and on answering in the negative, Dickson 
laughed, took Great Cloud by the hand, called him a brave 

1 man, and invited him into his house, where he was well 
treated. The Menominee Indian soon came in, and to- 

; gether they took a social smoke. Great Cloud related his 
adventures, and so pleased was his host at his having 
spared his women, that he gave him a flag and placed a 
medal on his breast, besides loading him with a present of 

On his return, Great Cloud found his French comrade 
had fled to Leech Lake, where he himself soon arrived, 
dressed as a chief, and instead of fur, loaded with merchan- 
dise, to the great surprise and wonder of his people. From 
this time he always showed a deep attachment to Col. Dick- 



son, and though his people refused to recognize him as a 
chief, jet he always assumed the dignity and was treated 
as such by the British. Great Cloud proceeded to Fort 
William with St. Germain, and he was in nearly all the 
principal battles which took place between the British and 
Americans, during the last war, in Canada. He remained 
in the east some time after the closing of the war, and we 
find his name attached to most of the treaties which from 
this time the United States government made with the 
allied Ottaways, Pottawatumies, and eastern Ojibways, at 
Detroit, Vincennes, and Sault Ste. Marie. 

Of the Ojibway half-breeds, John Baptiste and Michel, 
sons of Michel Cadotte, Sr., of La Pointe, were captured or 
enticed by the British of Isle Drummond, and there given 
the option, either to go into confinement during the war, 
or act as interpreters, and use their influence to collect the 
Ojibways. They accepted the latter alternative, and were 
actors in all the principal Canadian battles, and were 
present on the occasion of Tecumseh's death. John Bap- 
tiste was severely wounded, and is now 1 a pensioner on the 
British government. Michel is also living* 1 minus one arm, 
at La Pointe, on Lake Superior. 

After the taking of Fort Howard, on the island of Mack- 
inaw, the Ojibways of Lake Superior and the inland coun- 
try towards the Mississippi, being deprived of their usual 
resident traders and supplies, congregated in unusual num- 
bers on the island. The British took this occasion again to 
renew their attempts to induce them to join their arms.. 
They, however, signally failed to make an impression on 
their minds, as the Ojibways were influenced by one of 
their principal chiefs, who was noted both for wisdom and 
great firmness of character. His name was Xeesh-ke-mun, 
already mentioned in a previous chapter. On discovery 
that the councils of this chief was the cause of the failure 

i A. D. 1852. 


of their attempts to induce the Ojibways to war against 
the Americans, the British officers sent for him to come to 
their council room. The chief obeyed the summons, ac- 
companied by a numerous guard of his warriors. Michel 
Cadotte, Jr., acted as interpreter, and from his lips have 
these items and speeches been obtained by the writer. 

The British officers, in full uniform, were all collected 
in the council room, when the Ojibway chieftain and his 
train entered and silently took the seats allotted to them. 
Mr. Askin, a British agent, opened the council by stating 
to the chief that his British father had sent for him, un- 
derstanding that his councils with his red brethren had 
shut their ears against his words, and cooled their hearts 
towards him. "Your British father wishes to know who 
you are, that you should do these things — that you should 
dare to measure yourself against him." After an interval 
of silence, during which the chieftain quietly smoked his 
pipe, he at last arose, and shaking hands with the British 
commandant, he answered as follows : — 

" Englishman ! you ask me who I am. If you wish to 
know, you must seek me m the clouds. I am a bird who 
rises from the earth, and flies far up, into the skies, out of 
human sight ; but though not visible to the eye, my voice 
is heard from afar, and resounds over the earth I 

" Englishman ! you wish to know who I am. You have 
never sought me, or you should have found and known me. 
Others have sought and found me. The old French sought 
and found me. He placed his heart within my breast. 
He told me that everv morning I should look to the east 
and I would behold his fire, like the sun reflecting its rays 
towards me, to warm me and my children. He told me 
that if troubles assailed me, to arise in the skies and cry to 
him, and he would hear my voice. He told me that his 
fire would last forever, to warm me and my children. 

" Englishman ! you, Englishman, you have put out the 



fire of my French father. I became cold and needy, and 
you sought me not. Others have sought me. Yes, the 
Long Knife has found me. He has placed his heart on my 
breast. It has entered there, and there it will remain!" 

The chieftain here pulled out from his decorated tobacco 
pouch, an American George Washington medal, which 
had been given him by a former commandant of Fort 
Howard, and placing it around his neck, it lay on his 
breast, as he quietly returned to his seat. 

Somewhat excited at the vehement address of the chief, 
and at the act of seeming bravado which closed his ha- 
rangue, the British officer replied to him : — 

" You say true. I have put out the fire of the French 
men ; and in like manner am I now putting out the fire of 
the Long Knife. With that medal on your breast, you 
are my enemy. You must give it up to me, that I may 
throw it away, and in its stead I shall give you the heart 
of your great British father, and you must stand and fight 
by his side." 

Keesh-ke-mun, without arising from his seat, answered : 

"Englishman ! the heart of the Long Knife, which he 
placed on my breast, has entered my bosom. You cannot 
take it from me without taking my life." 

The officer, exasperated at the unflinching firmness of the 
chieftain, now exclaimed, in anger, addressing the inter- 
preter: "Tell him, sir, that he must give up his medal, 
or I shall detain him a prisoner within the walls of this 
fort." This threat, being duly interpreted to him, the 
chief grasped his medal in his hand, and once more arising 
from his seat, he addressed the excited officer, himself not 
showing the least marks of emotion : — 

" Englishman ! I shall not give up this medal of my own 
will. If you wish to take it from me, you are stronger 
than I am. But I tell you, it is but a mere bauble. It is 
only an emblem of the heart which beats in my bosom ; 


to cutout which jou must first kill me! Englishman! you 
say, that you will keep me a prisoner in this your strong 
house. You are stronger than I am. You can do as you 
say. But remember that the voice of the Crane echoes 
afar off, and when he summons his children together, they 
number like the pebbles on the Great Lake shore I" 

After a short consultation between the officers and Mr. 
Askin, the commandant again addressed the chief : — 

" Your words are big, but I fear them not. If you re- 
fuse to give up the medal of the Long Knives, you are my 
enemy, and you know I do not allow my enemies to live." 

The chief answered : " Englishman ! you are stronger 
than I am. If you consider me an enemy because I cherish 
the heart which has been placed on my bosom, you may 
do so. If you wish to take my life, you can take it. I 
came into your strong house because you sent for me. 
You sent for me wishing to set me on to my father the 
Long Knife, as a hunter sets his dogs on a deer. I cannot 
do as you wish. I cannot strike my own father. He, the 
Long Knife, has not yet told us to fight for him. Had he 
done so, you Englishmen would not now be in this strong 
house. The Long Knife counsels us to remain quiet. In 
this do we know that he is our own father, and that he 
has confidence in the strength of his single arm." 

After some further consultation among the officers, who 
could not help admiring his great firmness, the chief was 
dismissed. The next morning, Michel Cadotte (his grand- 
son), was again sent to him to call him to council. Keesh- 
ke-mun, with a score of his warriors again presented them- 
selves. A large pile of goods and tobacco was placed 
before him. Mr. Askin addressed him as follows : — 

" Your English father has not sent for you to take your 
life. You have refused to accept the badge of his heart. 
You have refused to join him in putting out the fire of 
the Long Knives who are stealing away your country. 




Yet he will not detain you. He will not hurt a hair of 
your head. He tells you to return to your village in peace. 
He gives you wherewith to warm your children for the 
coming winter. But he says to you, remain quiet — re- 
member if you join the Long Knives, we shall sweep your 
villages from the earth, as lire eats up the dry grass on the 

Keesh-ke-mun, without answering a word, accepted the 
presents and returned to his village. To his influence may 
he chiefly attributed the fact that the Ojibways of Lake 
Superior and Mississippi remained neutral during the pro- 
gress of the last war. 

Another anecdote is told by my informant, who acted as 
the British interpreter for the Ojibways during the last 
war ; which further illustrates the attachment which this 
tribe had conceived for the American people. 

About the same time that Keesh-ke-mun so firmly with- 
stood the inducements and threats of the British officers at 
Fort Howard, We-esh-coob, the war-chief of the Pillagers, 
with a party of his people from Leech Lake, happened to 
be present at the island of Michilimacinac. He was 
vainly urged by the British agents to join their arms with 
his band of warriors, who were noted as being the bravest 
of the Ojibway tribe. At a council held within the fort, 
this chief was asked, for the last time, by the British com- 
mandant, to array himself under their flag. We-esh-coob, 
in more decided terms than ever, refused, and his words so 
exasperated the commandant, that he rose from his seat, 
and forgot himself so far as to say to the Pillagers : — 

" I thought you were men, but I see that you are but 
women, not fit even to wear the breech-cloth. Go back to 
your homes. I do not wish the assistance of women. Go, 
put on the clothing which more bents you, and remain 
quiet in your villages." 


As he delivered this violent speech, he was proceeding 
'to leave the council room, when \Ve-esh-coob, having 
quietly listened to the interpretation thereof, rose to his 
feet, and approaching the angry Englishman, he put his 
hand on his epaulette and gently held him back. " Wait," 
said he, " you have spoken ; now let me speak. You say 
that we should not wear the breech-cloth, but the dress of 
women." Then pointing to the opposite shore of the lake, 
towards the site of the old English fort which the Ojib- 
ways had taken in 1763, We-esh-coob exclaimed 

" Englishman ! have you already forgotten that we once 
• made you cry like children 1 yonder ! who was the woman 
\ then? 

" Englishman ! you have said that we are women. If 
you doubt our manhood, you have young men here in your 
strong house. I have also young men. You must come 
out on some open place, and we will fight, You will better 
know, whether we are fit, or not, to wear the breech-cloth. 

" Englishman ! you have said words which the ears of 
"We-esh-coob have never before heard," and throwing down 
his blanket in great excitement, he pointed to different 
scars on his naked body, and exclaimed : " I thought I 
carried about me the marks which proved my manhood." 

The English officer whose irritation had somewhat 
abated during the delivery of this answer, grasped the un- 
usually excited Indian by the hand, and requested the in- 
terpreter to beg him to forget his hasty words. Peace and 
good-will were thus restored, but this bitter taunt tended 
greatly to strengthen the minds of the Ojibways against 
the agents who were continually engaged amongst them, 
to draw them into the war. 




COMPANY IN 1787 TO 1834. 

Origin of the Northwest Fur Company— Departments of their trade in the 
Ojibway country— Depot at Grand Portage— Yearly meetings of the partners 
—Names of the original partners— Sir Alex. McKenzie— He forms the X. Y. 
Company, and opposes the Northwest— The two companies join issues- 
Opposition of the Hudson's Bay Co.— Bloody struggle between the two rival 
companies— Northwest becomes merged in the Hudson's Bay Co.— Names of 
their Ojibway traders— Astor's American Fur Co.— Amount of their outfits in 
1818— Policy of their trade— Names of their principal traders— W. A. Aitkin 
— Lyman W. Warren— Names, motives, and conduct of the American traders. 

Among the first traders who pushed their enterprise to 
the villages of the Ojibway s on Lake Superior, after France 
had ceded the Canadas to Great Britain, the names of 
Alexander Henry and the Cadottes appear most conspic- 
uous. The Northwest Fur Company w r as not formed till 
the year 1787. It originated in the following manner: — 

Three or four rival traders, or small companies, had pro- 
ceeded from Montreal and Quebec, and located trading 
posts on the north coast of Lake Superior, about the mouth 
of Pigeon River, up which stream they sent outfits to the 
"Bois Fort" and Muskego Ojibways, and then to the Ke- 
nisteno and Assineboines of Red River. The rivalry be- 
tween these different traders became extremely bitter, and 
at last resulted in the murder of Waddon, who was shot 
in cold blood, within his trading house, at Grand Portage. 
This outrage brought the most sensible portion of the 
traders to their senses, and they immediately made efforts 
to compromise their difficulties, and to join their interests 
into one. These efforts resulted in the formation of the 



Northwest Company, which soon became so rich and pow- 
erful that for a long time they were enabled to monopolize 
the northern fur trade, and cope with the most powerful 
and favored combinations which the capitalists of Great 
Britain could bring against them. 

In the year 1792, immediately after the noted expedition 
of John Baptiste Cadotte to the Upper Mississippi, the 
Northwest Company extended their operations over the 
whole Ojibway country within the limits of the United 
States, on Lake Superior and the Mississippi. Their trade 
in these regions was divided into four departments: — 

The Fond du Lac department consisted of the country 
at the head of Lake Superior, and the sources of the St 
Louis and Mississippi Rivers. The Folle Avoine depart- 
ment consisted of the country drained by the waters of the 
St. Croix. The Lac Coutereille department covered the 
waters of the Chippeway ; and the Lac du Flambeau de- 
partment, the waters of the Wisconsin. 

The depot for this portion of their trade was located at 
Fond du Lac, but their great depot was at Grand Portage 
on the north coast of Lake Superior and within the limits 
of what is now known is Minnesota Territory. From 
this point they sent their outfits up Pigeon River, towards 
the northwest, and occupied the country of the Kenisteno 
and Assineboines. Here, each summer, the partners and 
clerks of the company, who had passed the winter amongst 
the inland posts, collected their returns of fur, and were 
met by the partners from Montreal with new supplies of 
merchandise. These yearly meetings were enlivened with 
feastings, dancing, and revelry, held in the great hall of 
the company. In the style of the feudal barons of old, did 
these prosperous traders each year hold their grand festival 
surrounded by their faithful and happy " coureurs du bois" 
and servitors. The eyes of an " old northwester," while 
relating these happy scenes of by-gone times, will sparkle 



with excitement — his form will "become momentarily erect 
as he imagines himself moving off in the merry dance, and 
his lips will water, as he enumerates the varied luxuries 
under which groaned long tables in the days of these 
periodic feastings. 

Amongst the different partners of this company on its 
first formation, the names of Frobisher, McTavish, Pond, 
Gregory, and Pangman are mentioned as most conspicuous. 
In their future operations, the names of Sir Alex. McKenzie 
and McGilvray soon became prominent as the most active 
partners. They were early opposed at some of their northern 
posts by the Forsyths and Qgilvys, but were not much trou- 
bled by the rivalry of these men till, through some unfor- 
tunate misunderstanding with members of the company, 
Sir Alex. McKenzie was forced to draw out his means and 
leave the firm. He thereupon joined with the Forsyths, 
and under the denomination of the X. Y. Company, 
through his great tact ' and experience in the trade, he 
caused the Korihwest for several years to suffer severe 
losses. After his death, the two rival companies came to 
an amicable understanding, and joined as partners. 

It is about this time that the Northwest first began to be 
materially harassed by the Hudson's Bay Company, who 
not only met them in their most lucrative northern posts, 
from the direction of Hudson's Bay, but followed them up, 
through their usual route from Canada. This company, 
formed principally of influential lords and gentlemen in 
England, supported by the favor of government and pos- 
sessing a charter, eventually proved too powerful for the 
old Northwest, They, however, did not crush this old 
firm till after a protracted and severe struggle. The 
Northwest Company, by the honorable and humane course 
which they are noted as having pursued towards the In- 
dians, and also towards their numerous Canadian and half- 
breed servitors and dependants, were, in return, loved by 


them, and in the efforts of these people to retain them in 
their country, blood was unfortunately made to flow. 

On the 17th of June, 1816, Governor Semple, of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, with some British troops, in try- 
ing to prevent the march of a body of mounted half-breeds, 
was suddenly cut down, and his troops killed, by a sweep- 
ing charge of these hardy buffalo hunters. A bloody par- 
: tisan warfare was only prevented by the strong interference 
of the British government. In 1819 the Northwest became 
merged into the Hudson's Bay Company, and ceased to 
exist. With it may be said to have ended the Augustan 
age of the fur trade. "With deep regret do the old voya- 
geurs and Indians speak of the dissolution of this once 
powerful company, for they always received honorable and 
charitable treatment at their hands. The principal traders 
who operated among the Ojibways during the era of the 
Northwest Company, and who may be mentioned as con- 
temporary with John Baptiste and Michel Cadotte, are 
Nolin, Gaulthier, McGillis, St. Germain, Bazille Beauleau, 
i Chabolier, Wm. Morrison, Cotte, Roussain, Bonga, J. B. 
Corbin, and others. These early pioneer traders all inter- 
married in the tribe, and have left sons and daughters to 
perpetuate their names. Wm. Morrison of Montreal, and 
J. B. Corbin, of Lac Coutereille, are now 1 the only survivors 
j of all these old traders. 

For the above brief account of the early fur trade, I am 
indebted to Hon. Allan Morrison of Crow Wing, who has 
been for upwards of thirty years a trader among the Ojib- 
ways, and who is a grandson of Waddon, whose murder 
led to the formation of the Northwest Company. 

To Mr. Bruce, of St. Croix Lake, now in his seventy- 
ninth year, mostly passed in the northwest, I am also in- 
debted for information. At the dissolution of the North- 
west Company, citizens of the United States began seriously 

1 A. D. 1852. 


to turn their attention to the Ojibway fur trade, and from 
this time a new class of individuals, as traders, began to 
penetrate to the remotest villages of this tribe. In the 
year 1818, the Astor Fur Company first commenced their 
operations on Lake Superior. They confined themselves, 
however, during the years 1816 and 1817, to trading posts 
at Sault Ste. Marie, Grand Island, and Ance-ke-we-naw. 
John Johnston, with a capital each year, of §40,000, man- 
aged this portion of their trade. 

In 1818, the company sent outfits to cover the whole 
Ojibway country, within the limits of the United States. 
William Morrison, Roussain, Cotte, and others, as traders 
on salary, with an outfit amounting to §23,606, were sent 
to the Fond du Lac department, which included the Upper 
Mississippi country. These traders continued during the 
years 1819-20-21-22, with small increase of capital. The 
department of Lac du Flambeau was placed in charge of 
Bazil Beauleau and Charatte as traders, on salary, in 1818, 
with a capital of $5100 ; Haw'ley and Durant, with a capi- 
tal of §5299. 

For the Lac Coutereille department, the company out- 
fitted John Baptiste Corbin, as a trader on salary, with 
goods to the amount of S5328. For the St. Croix district, 
Duchene acted as trader, on salary, for the company in 
1818. Capital §3876. 

In 1822, the capital of the Lac Coutereille and St. Croix 
departments amounted to §19,353, in charge of Duchene 
as trader. In 1818, the Ance department was placed in 
charge of John Holliday as trader on salary; his capital, or 
amount of outfit, averaged till 1822, S6000 per annum. 

In 1822, the Astor Fur Company made a slight change 
in the system of their trade in the Ojibway country. The 
Fond du Lac department was given to Wm. Morrison on 
halves, and this arrangement continued to 1826, when 
Messrs William A. Aitkin and Roussain took charge 


with a share of one-sixth each. In 1820, Mr. Aitkin 
bought out Roussain, and for one year he had charge, 
with a share of one-third. In 1831, Mr. Aitkin took 
charge of. this important department on halves with the 
Astor Company, and continued thus till 1834. 

In 1824, Lyman M. Warren, after having traded in op- 
position to the American Fur Company for six years, in 
the Lac du Flambeau, Lac Coutereille and St. Croix de- 
partments, entered into an arrangement with them, and 
took charge as a partner, and under a salary of these three 
departments, making his depot at La Pointe. He contin- 
ued with the same arrangement till the vear 1834. 

These items respecting the fur trade are here introduced 
to give the reader an idea of the importance of the trade 
amongst the Ojibways, and to introduce the names of the 
principal traders who, at this time, were remaining in the 
country. The Astor Fur Company followed the example 
of the Northwest Company in hiring as traders, men whom 
they found already in the country, holding influential po- 
sitions among the Ojibways, and in some cases connected 
with them by marriage. Some of these men had traded 
in connection with the old Northwest Company, as William 
Morrison, Cotte, Roussain, Corbin, and others,while others 
I of more recent date had traded as opposition traders, and 
' distinguished themselves by their success. Among these 
may be mentioned Wm. A. Aitkin, Esq., who first came 
into the Chippeway country about 1815, a mere boy, and 
as a servant for a trader named John Drew. Intermarry- 
ing into an influential Indian family, he was soon enabled 
to trade on Ms own account, and he gradually increased 
his business till, in 1831, he takes charge of the important 
department of Fond du Lac, on halves, with John Jacob 
Astor. Mr. Aitkin's name is linked with the history of 
the Upper Mississippi Ojibways for the last half century. 
He was one of the old pioneers of the northwest. He died 



in the fall of the year 1851, and lies buried at Aitkinsville 
(Swan River), on the banks of the Upper Mississippi. 

Among others may be mentioned the names of Lyman 
M. and his brother Truman A. Warren. They first came 
into the Ojibway country from Vermont, in 1818. They 
hired the first year in charge of small outfits, to Charles 
Ermitinger, at the rate of $500 per annum. They soon 
took outfits on their own account, and traded with great 
success in the Lac Coutereille aud Lac du Flambeau de- 
partments. In 1821, they married each a daughter of the 
old trader Michel Cadotte, aud their trade increased to 
such a degree that in 1824, Lyman Warren made an ap- 
parently advantageous arrangement with the Astor Fur 
Company, becoming a partner thereof, besides receiving a 
handsome salary. Truman died in 1825, on board a vessel 
bound from Mackinaw to Detroit, from a severe cold 
caused by the extreme exposure incident to an Indian 
trader's life. He died much lamented by the Ojibways, who 
had already learned to love him for his many gentle and 
good traits of character. 

Lyman M. Warren, the elder brother, located his per- 
manent residence on La Fointe Island, and continued with 
slight interruptions and varied success, to trade with the 
Ojibways till his death in 1847. He lies buried at La 
Pointe, and his name may now well be mentioned among 
the early American pioneers of the northwest. Half a 
century hence, when the scenes of their wild adventures 
and hardships shall be covered with teeming towns and 
villages, these slight records of individuals who still live" 
in the memory of the present generation, will be read 
with far greater interest than at the present day. 

Samuel Ashmun, Daniel Dingley, Charles H. Oakes, and 
Patrick Conner, may be mentioned as prominent traders 
among the Ojibways during the early part of the nineteenth 
century. Some of these gentlemen commenced their career 



iu opposition to the Astor Fur Company, but in accord- 
ance to the policy of this rich firm, they were soon bought 
out and engaged in its service. 

"When John Jacob Astor entered into arrangements 
with the British Fur Companies for the monopoly of the 
Ojibway trade within the United States territory, a new 
era may be said to have occurred in the fur trade. The 
old French Canadian traders so congenial to the Indians, 
who had remained in the country after the closing of the 
French supremacy, had all nearly died away, and disap- 
peared from the stage of active life, and a new class of 
men, of far different temperaments, whose chief object 
was to amass fortunes, now made their appearance among 
the Ojibways. They were of the Anglo-Saxon race, and 
hailed from the land of the progressive and money-making 
" Yankee." To some degree the Indian ceased to find that 
true kindness, sympathy, charity, and respect for his sacred 
beliefs and rites, which he had always experienced from 
his French traders. 

The Ojibways were more deserving of respect in those 
days, while living in their natural state, and under the full 
force of their primitive moral beliefs, than they are at the 
present day, after being degenerated by a close contact with 
an unprincipled frontier white population. The American 
fur traders, many of whom were descended from respect- 
able Xew England families, did not consider their dignity 
lessened by forming marital alliances with the tribe, and 
the Ojibway women were of so much service to their hus- 
bands, they so easily assimilated themselves to their modes 
of life, and their affections were so strong, and their con- 
duct so beyond reproach, that these alliances, generally 
first formed by the traders for present convenience, became 
cemented by the strongest ties of mutual affection. They 
kindly cherished their Indian wives, and for their sakes, 
as well as for the sake of children whom they begat, these 




traders were eventually induced to pass their lifetime in 
the Ojibway country. They soon forgot the money-mak- 
ing mania which first brought them into the countiy, and 
gradually imbibing the generous and hospitable qualities 
of the Indians, lived only to enjoy the present. They laid 
up no treasure for the future, and as a general fact, which 
redounds to the honor of this class of fur traders, they died 
poor. The money which has been made by the fur trade 
has been made with the sweat of their brows, but it has 
flowed into the coffers of such men as John Jacob Astor. 

It is a fact worthy of notice, that the Anglo-Saxon race 
have mingled their blood with the Ojibwaj's to a much 
greater extent than with any other tribe of the red race. 

It reflects honor on this tribe, as it tends greatly to 
prove the common saying, that they are far ahead of other 
tribes in their social qualities, and general intelligence and 
morality. Of French and American extraction, the Qjib- 
ways number about five thousand persons of mixed blood, 
who are scattered throughout Canada, Michigan, Wiscon- 
sin, Minnesota, and the British possessions. Many of the 
Ojibway mixed bloods are men of good education and 
high standing within their respective communities. 

The American Board of Foreign Missions early estab- 
lished a mission school on the island of Mackinaw, to 
which most of the Ojibway traders sent their half-breed 
children. The school was sustained on the manual labor 
system, and great good was disseminated from it, which 
spread over the whole northwest country. Many of our 
most prominent half-breeds, now engaged as missionaries, 
or in mercantile pursuits, and women who figure in the 
best of civilized society, received their education at the 
Mackinaw mission. After its dissolution, such of the 
traders as were pecuniarily able, usually sent their children 
to receive an education in some of the Eastern States. 




EVENTS FROM 1818 TO 1826. 

In 1818, Black Dog, a Pillager war-leader, marches into the Dakota country, 
with a party of sixteen warriors — Desperate fight, from which but one Pil- 
lager escapes death — In 1824, four white men are murdered on the shores of 
Lake Pepin by an Ojibway war party— Unsuccessful pursuit of the mur- 
derers — The traders demand them at the hands of their chiefs— Chief of 
Lac du Flambeau delivers three of the ring-leaders into the hands of Tru- 
man A. Warren — The principal murderer is secured by Wm. Holliday — 
They are taken to Mackinaw and confined in jail, from which they make 
their escape — Convention at Fond du Lac in 1826, between commissioners 
on the part of the United States, and the Ojibways— Objects thereof. 

For several years after the closing of the last war be- 
tween Great Britain and the United States, no event of 
sufficient importance to deserve record, occurred to the 
Ojibways. Their warfare continued with the Dakotas, 
but no important "battle was fought, nor striking acts of 
valor and manhood performed, such as find a durable 
place in the lodge tales and traditions of the tribe, till the 
year 1818, when the hardy Pillagers again lost a select 
band of their bravest warriors. 

A noted war-leader, Black Dog, having lately lost some 
relatives, at the hands of the Dakotas, raised a small but 
select band of warriors to go with him in pursuit of ven- 
geance. They numbered but sixteen men, but being all of 
determined character, they marched westward, and pro- 
ceeded further into the country of their enemies, than any 
Ojibway war party had ever done before them. After 
having travelled all one night in crossing a wide prairie, 
early in the morning they discovered a large encampment 
of Dakotas, whose lodges were located on a prairie, close 



by the banks of a small river. The Ojibways were unfor- 
tunately discovered by a party of buffalo hunters who 
were scouring the prairie on horseback, and their presence 
was immediately reported to the grand encampment, whose 
warriors prepared to turn out in irresistible numbers 
against them. It was useless for them to think of flight, 
for their enemy, being on horseback, would soon overtake 
and surround them. They could but sell their lives as 
dearly as possible. 

The leader lost not his presence of mind, though perfectly 
satisfied that the fate of his party was fully sealed. Ad- 
dressing a few words of encouragement to his w r arriors, he 
led them to a small clump of poplar trees which grew on a 
knoll on the prairie, in plain view of the Dakota encamp- 
ment. Here, they each dug a hole in the ground, from 
which they determined to keep up the fight with their 
numerous enemies, as long as their ammunition might last. 
They had hardly finished their preparations, when the Da- 
kota warriors made their appearance in a formidable array 
on the open prairie. They were fully painted and dressed 
for battle, and a large number w r ere on horseback, who 
quickly rode forward and completely surrounded the knoll 
of trees in which the Ojibways had taken shelter. The 
battle commenced, and lasted without intermission till 
midday, the Dakotas suffering a severe loss from the un- 
erring aim of their desperate enemies, who threw not a 
single shot away. So well were they posted, that it was 
impossible to approach or dislodge them. At last their 
scanty supply of ammunition gave out, and the Dakotas 
discovering it by the slackening of their fire, and by one 
of their number being wounded with, a stone which an 
jib way had substituted in his gun for a bullet, a simul- 
taneous rush was made on them, and after a short hand to 
hand struggle, the sixteen Pillager warriors, with but one 
exception, were killed. This one, named Bug-aun-auk, re- 


turned safely to his people, but he never would give but 
the most supernatural account of his manner of escape — 
tales that were not believed by his own people. It was at 
first the general impression that he had deserted his party 
before the fight came on, but the Dakotas, at a future peace- 
meeting with the Ojibways, stated that there were sixteen 
warriors who went into the poplar grove, as counted by 
their scouts, and there were found sixteen holes from 
which the warriors fought, in one of which remained only 
the bundle of the man who had so miraculously escaped. 
The Dakotas acknowledged that they lost thirty-three of 
their warriors in this desperate engagement, besides many 
maimed for life. 

Since the execution of the Indian at Fond du Lac in 
1797, by the northwestern traders for killing a Canadian 
" coureur du bois," the life of a white man had been held 
sacred by the Ojibways, and one could traverse any portion 
of their country, in perfect safety, and without the least 
molestation. In the year 1824, however, four white men 
were killed by the Ojibways, under circumstances so pecu- 
liar, as to deserve a brief account in this chapter. 

An Ojibway named ^Tub-o-beence, or Little Broth, resid- 
ing on the shores of Lake Superior near the mouth of On- 
tonagun River, lost a favorite child through sickness. He 
was deeply stricken with grief, and nothing would satisfy 
him but to go and shed the blood of the hereditary ene- 
mies of his tribes, the Dakotas. He raised a small war 
party, mostly from the Lac du Flambeau district, and they 
floated down the Chippeway River to its entry, where, for 
several days they watched without success on the banks of 
the Mississippi, for the appearance of an enemy. The 
leader had endured hardships, and came the great distance 
of five hundred mile3 to shed blood to the manes of his 
dead child, and long after his fellows had become weary of 
waiting and watching, and anxious to return home, did he 



urge them still to continue in their search. He had deter- 
mined not to return without shedding human blood. 

Early one morning, as the warriors lay watching on the 
shores of Lake Pepin, they saw a boat manned by four 
white men land near them, and proceed to cook their morn- 
ing meal. Several of the party approached the strangers, 
and were well received. The white men consisted of a M r. 
Finley, with three Canadian boat men, who were under 
the employ of Mons. Jean Brunet, of Prairie du Chien,an 
Indian trader. They were proceeding up the Mississippi 
to Ft. Snclling on some urgent business of their employer, 
and Mr. Finley had with him a number of account books 
and valuable papers. 

The assault and massacre of these men was entirely un- 
premeditated by the Ojibway war party, and contrary to 
the wishes of the majority. They had paid them their 
visit and begged some provisions, receiving which, they 
retired and sat down in a group on a bank immediately 
above them. The leader here commenced to harangue his 
fellows, expressing a desire to shed the blood of the white 
man. He was immediately opposed, on which he com- 
menced to talk of the hardships he had endured, the loss 
of his child, till, becoming excited, he wept with a loud 
voice, and suddenly, taking aim at the group of white men, 
who were eating their breakfast, he tired and killed one. 
Eight of his fellows immediately followed his example, and 
rushing down to the water-side, they quickly dispatched 
the whole party, and tore off their scalps. Taking the 
effects of their victims, they returned towards their homes. 
At Lac Coutereille they attempted to dance the scalp dance 
before the door of J. B. Corbin, the trader, who immedi- 
ately ran Out of his house, and forcibly deprived them of 
the white men's scalps which they were displaying, order- 
ing them at the same time to depart from his door. The 
trader was supported by the Indians of his village, and the 



murderers now for the first time beginning to see the conse- 
quences of their foolish act, skulked silently away, very 
much crestfallen. 

The remains of the murdered white men were soon dis- 
covered, and the news going both up and down the river, a 
boat load of fift}^ soldiers was sent from Prairie du Chien to 
pursue the murderers. At Lake Pepin they were met by 
three boats laden with troops from Ft. Snelling, and the 
party, including volunteers, numbered nearly two hundred 
men. Mons. Jean Brunet was along, and had been most 
active in raising this force. They followed the Ojibway 
war-trail for some distance, till, coming to a place where 
the warriors had hung up their usual thanksgiving sacri- 
fices for a safe return to their homes, a retreat was deter- 
mined on, as the party had not come prepared to make a 
long journey, and it was folly to think of catching the 
murderers, scattered throughout the vast wilderness which 
lay between Lake Superior and the Mississippi. 

The matter was subsequently left in the hands of the 
traders among the Ojibways. Truman A. Warren, the 
principal trader of the Lac da Flambeau department, de- 
manded the murderers, at the hands of the chiefs of this 
section of the tribe. The celebrated Keesh-ke-mun had 
died a short time previous, and had left his eldest son 
Mons-o-bo-douh to succeed. This man was not a whit be- 
hind his deceased father in intelligence and firmness of 
character. He called a council of his band, and insisted on 
the chief murderers being given up by their friends. He 
was opposed in council by a man noted for his ill-tempered 
and savage disposition, who even threatened to take his 
life if he attempted to carry his wishes into effect. A 
brother of this man had been one of the ring-leaders in the 
murder, -and now stood by hi3 side as he delivered his 
threats against the young chief. As they again resumed 
their seats, Mons-o-bo-douh arose, and drawing his knife, he 




went and laid hold of the murderer by the arm and inti- 
mated to him that he was his prisoner. He then ordered 
his young men to tie his arms. The order was immedi- 
ately obeyed, and accomplished without the least resistance 
from the prisoner or his brother, who was thunderstruck 
at the cool and determined manner of the chief. 

Shortly after, two more of the murderers were taken, 
and Mons-o-bo-douh delivered them into the hands of the 
trader. The leader of the party, who lived on the shores 
of Lake Superior, was secured by Mr. William Ilolliday, 
trader at Ance Bay. The four captives were sent to Mack- 
inac, and confined in jail. While orders were pending 
from Washington respecting the manner of their trial, 
they succeeded in making their escape by cutting an aper- 
ture through the logs which formed their place of confine- 

The ensuing year (1826), the Hon. Lewis Cass was com- 
missioned by the United States, to proceed to Lake Supe- 
rior, and convene the Ojibways in council, to treat with 
them for the copper and other mineral, which was now 
found to abound in their country. This important con- 
vention was held at Fond du Lac, which was then consid- 
ered as about the centre of the Ojibway country. Boat 
loads of provisions were taken from Mackinaw and col- 
lected at this point, to feed the assembly of Indians, who 
were notified through messengers to collect. The Ojib- 
ways had not collected in such large numbers for a long 
time. Delegations arrived from their most remote villages 
towards the north. Shin-ga-ba-ossin, chief of the Crane 
family, from Sault Ste. Marie, was also present, and took 
a most prominent part in the proceedings, in behalf of his 
tribe. He is said to have made a speech to his fellows, 
wherein he urged them to discover to the whites their 
knowledge of the minerals which abounded in their country. 
This, however, was meant more to tickle the ears of the 



commissioners and to obtain their favor, than as an earnest 
appeal to his people, for the old chieftain was too much 
imbued with the superstition prevalent amongst the In- 
dians, which prevents them from discovering their know- 
ledge of mineral and copper boulders to the whites. The 
objects of the commissioners were easily attained, but the 
Ojibways, who felt a deep love for the offspring of their 
women who had intermarried with the whites, and cher- 
ished them as their own children, insisted on giving them 
grants of land on the Sault Ste. Marie River, which they 
wished our government to recognize and make good. 
These stipulations were annexed by the commissioners to 
the treaty, but were never ratified by the Senate of the 
United States. It is merely mentioned here to show the 
great affection with which the Ojibways regarded their 
half-breeds, and which they have evinced on every occasion 
when they have had an opportunity of bettering their con- 

A stipulation was also annexed to the treaty, wherein 
some of the relatives of the murderers of Finley and his 
party, agreed to deliver them w T ithin a given time. This, 
however, was never carried into effect, and as the traders 
took no further interest in the matter, the murderers were 
allowed to run at large. The leader is still 1 living at On- 
tonagun, and another named "the Little Eddy," is living 1 
at La Pointe. Both are noted for their quiet and peaceable 

At the treaty of Fond du Lac, the United States com- 
missioners recognized the chiefs of the Ojibways, by dis- 
tributing medals amongst them, the size of which were in 
accordance with their degree of rank. Sufficient care was 
not taken in this rather delicate operation, to carry out the 
pure civil polity of the tribe. Too much attention was 
paid to the recommendation of interested traders who 

» A. D. 1852. 



wished their best hunters to be rewarded by being made 
chiefs. One young man named "White Fisher, was endowed 
with a medal, solely for the strikingly mild and pleasant ex- 
pression of his face. He is now a petty sub-chief on the 
Upper Mississippi. 

From this time may be dated the commencement of in- 
novations which have entirely broken up the civil polity of 
the Ojibways. 













The entrance to Lake Superior is obstructed by a suc- 
cession of rapids, first called by traders Sault, or in modern 
French, Saut du Gaston, in compliment to Jean Baptiste 
Gaston, 1 the younger brother of Louis the Thirteenth, 
but in 1669, named by Jesuit missionaries, Sault de Sainte 
Marie. Here, the French traders arrived in the days of 
Champlain, and found a band of Indians, who largely sub- 
sisted upon the white fish of the region, and were known 
among the Iroquois, as Estiaghicks or Ostiagahoroones. By 
the Hurons they were called Pauotigoueieuhak, dwellers at 
the falls, or Pahouitingouachirini, men of the shallow cata- 
ract. 2 In the Jesuit relations of 1647-8 mention is made of 

1 Gaston the younger son of Henry the Fourth, and his wife, Marie de 

* J. Hammond Trumbull in January number of Historical Magazine, Morri- 
sania, 1870, writes : "The Powhatans and their ^reat Emperor derived their 
name, Smith informs us, from a place near the falls in James River, where is 
now the city of Richmond. 

" * Powhat-hanne' or ' pau't-hann6' denotes ' falls in a stream.' The first part 
of the name is found in the Massachusetts and Narragansett ' Pawtuck' (pau't- 
tuck) 'falls in a tidal river,' whence the name of Pawtucket, 'at the falls,' 
and ita derivative Pawtuxet 'at the little falls:' again in the Chippeway 




the Paouitagoung, in these words : " These last, are those 
whom we call the nation of the Sault, distant from us a 
little more than a hundred leagues, whose consent to a route, 
it would be necessary to have, if one wished to go beyond, to 
communicate with numerous other more distant Algonquin 
nations, who dwell upon the shores of another lake [Supe- 
rior] still larger than the Mer Douce [Huron], into which 
it discharges itself, by a very large, and very rapid river, 
which before mingling its waters with our fresh-water sea 
[Lake Huron], makes a fall or leap that gives a name to 
those people, who come to live there during the fishing 
season." 1 


This tribe, however, called themselves Achipoue or 
Ojibway. 2 The origin of the name has not been satisfac- 
torily determined. Schoolcraft writes : " They call them- 
selves Ojibwas. Bwa in this language denotes voice. 
Ojibwamong signifies Chippewa language or voice. It is 
not manifest what the prefixed syllable denotes." 

Belcourt, for many years a Roman Catholic missionary 
among the Indians of the Red River of the Ko'rth, writing 
of the word Odjibwek, uses this language : "This word has 

name of the Saut Ste. Marie 1 pawateeg,' and with the place termination ' paw- 
ating,' 1 at the falls.' The Algonkin name for Indians who lived near the 
Saut, among whom were reckoned the Chippewavs, was Pawitagou-ek or 
Pawichtigou-ek, ' Sauteurs,' or People of the Falls." 

1 Schoolcraft writes : " The French word Sault (pronounced So) accurately 
expresses this kind of pitching rapids or falls. The Indians call it Bawateeg 
or Pawateeg when speaking of the phenomenon ; and Bawating or Pawating 
when referring to the place. Pangwa is an expression denoting shallow 
water on rocks. The inflection eeg i6 an animate plural. Ing is the local ter- 
minal form of nouns. In the south or American channel there is no positive 
leap of the water, but an intensely swift current." 

2 Sir William Johnson, British Superintendant of Indian Affairs, calls them 
Chippeweighs, also Chippewa?. In the treaty of 1S07, at Detroit, this tribe are 
called Chippewavs : and in that of 1820 at Sault Ste. Marie they are " the Chip- 
peway tribe of Indiaus." 


been the object of a great many suppositions. Some say 
it was given on account of the form of their plaited shoes, 
teibwa, plaited, but this interpretation is not admissible, for 
the word does not contain the least allusion to shoes. 
Others say that it comes from the form the mouth as- 
sumes in pronouncing certain words, wishing always to 
hold on to the adjective, teibwa; this is not more satisfac- 
tory. I would venture, then, to say that the word Odjib 
wek comes from shibwe in order to make a proper name. 
Oshibwek, in the plural, the pronouncing slowly of shib 
(root), to draw out ; that is to say, to lengthen out a word 
by the slow pronunciation of its syllables ; the particle ice 
signifying articulate, pronounce ; the k is an animated 
plural, which here can only be applied to men. In truth 
the pronunciation 'of the Saulteuse characterizes them in 
an eminent manner." 1 

The " Men of the Shallow Cataract" lived where the 
" noise of many waters" sounded like a voice or hoarse 
murmur, and as the discharge from Lake Superior was 
contracted, into the narrow shallow channel, the waters 
became ruffled or puckered. Gov. Ramsey, of Minnesota, 
in 1850, in a report to the United. States Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs writes as to the word Ojibway : " As there 
is no discernible pucker in their voice, or mode of speaking, 
a more natural genesis of the word could probably be de- 
rived from a circumstance in their past history. Upwards 
of two centuries ago they were driven by the Iroquois, or 
Six Nations of £Tew York, into the strait of Mackinaw, 
where Lake Huron, Michigan, and Superior, are "puck- 
ered" into a small channel or narrow compass." 


Stephen Brule, one of the reckless and enterprising voy- 
ageurs under Cham plain, in A. D. 1618, appears to have 

1 Rev. G. A. Belcourt. Annals of Minnesota Historical Society, 1853, pp. 



been the first man who brought to Quebec a description of 
Lake Superior, as well as a specimen of its copper. On 
Champlahrs Map of 1632, appears Lake Superior, and in 
the accompanying description Sault du Gaston is described 
as nearly two leagues broad, and discharging into Mer 
Douce (Lake Huron). 


On the 4th of July, 1634, another person, 1 Jean Xicolet, 
in the service of the fur company known as the " Hundred 
Associates," of whom Champlain was the agent, left Three 
Rivers, on his way to the upper lakes, and during the next 
autumn and winter became acquainted with the Ojibways 
at Sault du Gaston, and the Ochunkgraw or "Winnebagoes of 
Green Bay. 

In 1641, the Hurons, then living on the east side of the 
lake which bears their name, gave a great feast, at which 
several tribes were present, and there the Jesuit mission- 
aries saw for the first time the Ojibways. 

Year after year, the adventurous fur traders became 
better acquainted with the tribes of the Upper Lakes. 
Father Le Mercier, 2 in a letter dated at Quebec, the 21st 
*day of September, 1654, alludes to a flotilla of canoes 
guided by traders, loaded with furs belonging to friendly 
Indians, who came from the west, a distance of four hun- 
dred leagues. In the same relation, it is mentioned, that 
if a person could be found, who would send thirty French- 
men into that country, not only would they gain many 
souls to God, but they would receive a profit that would 
surpass the expenses they would incur for the support of 
the Frenchmen that might be sent, because the finest 
peltries came, in the greatest abundance, from those quar- 

1 Suite in vol. viii. Wis. Hist. Soc. Col. 
» Relation 1653-oi. 



In August, 1654, while those Indians were trading at 
Quebec, thirty young Frenchmen equipped themselves to 
return with them, and engage in the fur trade, but after 
they commenced their journey were driven back by the 


The great impulse to trade with the natives of Lake 
Superior was given by the explorations of two natives of 
France, Medard Chouart, afterwards called Sieur des Gro- 
seilliers, and his brother-in-law, Pierre d'Esprit, the Sieur 
Radisson. 1 

They were the first to push to the head of Lake Supe- 
rior, and after visiting the Tionnontantes Hurons, who had 
fled from their enemies to the vicinity of the headwaters 
of the Black and Chippeway Rivers in Wisconsin, they 
wintered with the Dahkotahs or Sioux, west of Lake Supe- 
rior, in the Mille Lacs region of Minnesota. 

During the spring and early summer they became fami- 
liar with the shores of Lake Superior, and upon Franque- 
lin's Map of 1688, what is now Pigeon River, and a portion 
of the boundary between the United States and Dominion 
of Canada, is called Groseilliers. 2 On the 19th of August, 
1660, Groseilliers, by way of the Ottawa River, reached 

1 Medard Chouart was born near Ferte Sous Jouarre, eleven miles east of 
Meaux in France, and in 1641, when only sixteen years old, came to Canada. 
In 1647 he married Helen, widow of Claude Etienne, the daughter of a pilot, 
Abraham Martin, whose baptismal name is still attached to the "Plains of 
Abraham" in the suburbs of Quebec. His first wife in 1651 died, and in 1653 
he married another widow, whose maiden name was Margaret Hayet Radisson, 
and a sister of his fellow explorer. 

Pierre d'Esprit, the Sieur Radisson, "Was born at St. Malo, and in 1656 at 
Three Rivers, Canada, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Madeleine Hain- 
ault, and after her death, the daughter of Sir John Kirk or Kertk, a zealous 
Huguenot, became his wife. 

* See NeUl'a History of Minnesota, 5th edition. 1883. 



Montreal, with three hundred of the Upper Algonquins. He 
had left Lake Superior with one hundred canoes, but forty 
turned back, and the value of the peltries was 200,000 livres. 
From that time traders gathered at Sault Ste. Marie, 
Keweenaw, and Chagouamigon Bay. In a few days the 
furs were sold, and on the 28th Groseilliers left " Three 
Rivers," and again turned his face westward, accompanied 
by six traders, and the first missionary for that region, the 
aged Menard, and his servant Jean Guerin. The party 
passed Sault Ste. Marie, and on the 15th of October, 1660, 
were at Keweenaw Bay, 1 and here Menard spent the win- 
ter. Several Frenchmen engaged in fishing and trading, 
also, were at this point. 


Groseilliers returned to Canada in 1662, and on the 
second of May, with ten men, left Quebec, to extend his 
explorations toward Hudson's Bay. 2 The presence of 
traders attracted the the Ojibways to Keweenaw, and the 
refugee Hurons and Ottawas were drawn from the Ottawa 
Lakes, in the interior of Wisconsin, to Chagouamigon Bay, 
where a trading post had also been established. 

Here the latter fished, hunted, and cultivated Indian 
corn and pumpkins. Upon one occasion, about the year 
1660, while on a hunting excursion, they met a party of 
Ojibways with some Frenchmen on their way to Chago- 
uamigon, to trade. A war party of one hundred Iroquois 
came not long after to Sault Ste. Marie, and encamped 

1 In the 5th vol. of Schoolcraft's Statistical Information, p. 646, there is an 
article with the name of Rev. Edw. D. Neill attached, which erroneously men- 
tions that Menard went to Chagouamigon Bay. 

Mr. Neill never saw, nor corresponded, with Mr. Schoolcraft, and it is an 
enigma how an article which Mr. Neill never wrote, could appear, with his 
name attached, as the author. 

8 Journal des Jesuites, par MM. les Abbes Laverdiere et Cosgrain, Quebec, 


about five leagues above tbe rapids. Some Ojibways, 
Ottawas, JSTepissings, and Amikouets were in the vicinity 
engaged in catching white fish and hunting in the forests. 
Two of their number discovered the smoke of the Iroquois 
encampment, and informed the Ojibway chief, who sent a 
canoe of warriors to reconnoitre. 


Under the cover of a dense forest, they advanced and 
discovered the number of Iroquois, and came back and re- 
ported. The Ojibways and allies then marched by night 
and arrived near the Iroquois, and hid behind a ridge of 
earth. The dogs of the enemy were kept from barking, 
by throwing food at them, 1 and as soon as it was sufficiently 
light they gave the war-whoop. The Iroquois roused from 
sleep, wished to seize their arms, but could not face the 
discharge of arrows. The Ojibways then, tomahawk in 
hand, entered the tents of their ancient foes, slaughtered 
many, and were elated with their complete victory. After 
this, the Ojibways and their allies visited Keweenaw, and 
Chasrouami^on. 2 


Some of the voyageurs who left Montreal, in 1660, with 
Groseilliers, did not return until the summer of 1663, and 
were the first to give an extended account of Lake Supe- 
rior. Pierre Boucher, an honored citizen of Canada, in a 
little book published in Paris, in 1664, mentions that a 

1 Perrot's Memoir, edited by Tailhan. Leipzig: and Paris, 1864. 

2 Schoolcraft defines Shaugwamegin as low lands. A writer in the Cana- 
dian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, vol. ii., alludes to a tavern of the last 
century in Montreal, known as the " Chagouamigon," and thinks it is the 
Algonquin word Chaboumikon, eye of a needle. Baraga in his Otchipwi Dic- 
tionary defines Jabonigonas needle. The low sandy point projected like a long 


large island full of copper, had been discovered in the 
western extremity of Lake Superior. He also wrote: 
" There are other places, in that neighborhood, where there 
are similar mines, as I have learned from four or five 
Frenchmen, lately returned from there, who went with a 
Jesuit Father [Menard, who died in the summer of 1661, 
toward the sources of the Black River of Wisconsin]. 
They were gone three years, before they could find an op- 
portunity to return. They told me they had seen a nug- 
get of copper, at the end of a hill, which weighed more 
than eight hundred pounds. They said that the Indians, 
as they pass it, make fires on top of it, and then hew pieces 
out of it with their axes." 


In 1665, some of the French traders, with Indians of the 
Upper Lakes, came to Quebec, to trade, and Father Allouez 
was invited to return with them. In his journal 1 he writes: 
"The eighth day of August of the year 1665, 1 embarked 
at 'Three Rivers,' with six Frenchmen, in company with 
more than four hundred savages of divers nations, who 
were returning to their homes, after having finished their 
traffic." The month of September was passed in coasting 
along the southern shore of Lake Superior, or Tracy, as it 
was then called. On the 1st day of October, the party 
reached Chagouamigon. Allouez describes it, as "a beau- 
tiful Bay, at the bottom of which is situated the great vil- 
lage of the savages, who, there, plant their fields of Indian 
corn, and lead a stationary life. They are there, to the 
number of eight hundred men bearing arms, but collected 
from seven different nations, who dwell in peace with each 
other." In another place, Allouez writes: "This quarter 
of the lake where we have stopped, is between two large 

1 Relation of 1666-67. 



villages, and as it was the centre of all the nations of these 
countries, because fish are abundant there, which forms 
the principal subsistance of this people. We have erected 
there a small chapel of bark." Franquelin's Map of 1688 
places a settlement near the southwestern extremity of the 
bay. There was no village on the island near the entrance. 1 


Among the refugees from the Iroquois at this time at 
Chagouamigon Point were the Tionnontateheronnons, for- 
merly called Hurons of the Tobacco Nation, the three 
bands of Ottawas, Ottawa Sinagos, and Kis-ka-kons. 2 There 
also came to trade the Ousakis 3 (Sauks) and Outagamis 
(Foxes), an allied people who spoke a difficult Algonquin 

1 The Map of Lake Superior, which is attached to the Jesuit Relations of 
1670-71, marks the projection into Lake Superior, forming the west shore of 
Chagouamigon Bay as La Pointe du St. Esprit. By the voyageurs it was 
called La Pointe, It is not until the 19th century we find La Pointe, or Mada- 
line, applied to the island, about three miles from Bayfield, Wisconsin. 

This island on Franquelin's Map of 1688 is called Isle Detour ou St. Michel. 
Bellin's complete French map of Lake Superior, which is in Charlevoix's Histoire 
et description ginirale de Xouvelle France, Paris, A. D. 1714, shows Ance [Bay] 
de Chagouamigon, and marks a little bay, within this, near the modern ham- 
let of Washburn, Baye St. Charles, in compliment to Charles Beauharnois, 
then governor of Canada ; the then long sandy peninsula, the eastern arm of 
Chagouamigon Bay, now become an island, is called Pointe de Chagouamigon. 
The group of islands is called the Apostles, and the two, in front, of the town 
of Bayfield, are named St. Michel and La Ronde, the latter after a French 
officer. Afc the bottom of Chagouamigon Bay, is the mark O, the sign of a 
trading post or Indian village with the remark that there was once there an 
important village "Ici 6toit une Bourgade considerable." In the map of 
Canada, in De L'Isle's Atlas, corrected by his son-in-law Philip Buache, in 
A. D. 1745, a " Maison Franooise," French trading house, is indicated at Ft. 

9 La Mothe Cadillac in 1695, commander at Mackinaw, wrote, that the Ot- 
tawas were divided into four bands, the Kiskakons or Queues Couples; the 
Sable so called because their old residence was on a sandy point ; the Sinago"; 
and the Nassauaketon, or People of the Fork, because they had resided on a 
river which had three forks or branches, perhaps the Chippeway River of Wis- 
consin. Nassauaketon was the Algonquin word for a river which forked. 

8 Lake Osakis or Ousaukee in Minnesota has its name from this tribe. 



dialect. The Illinois came, moreover, to this place from 
sixty leagues southward, and, wrote a missionary, far " be- 
yond a great river that discharges itself as near as I can 
conjecture, into the sea towards Virginia." Here too was 
occasionally encamped the Ojibways. As the fear of the 
Iroquois subsided, some Hurons returned to the Bay of the 
Puants (Green Bay), and others went back to Sault Ste. 
Marie, and there, in 1669, the missionaries resolved to 
make their principal residence at the foot of the rapids. 


The voyageurs, at this early period, congregated here, 
amounted to twenty or twenty-five, and the Jesuits con- 
structed a square of pine and cedar pickets, twelve feet 
high, with a small log chapel and house within the in- 

Gallinee, a Sulpitian priest, who had been with La Salle 
on Lake Erie in May, 1670, visited the post, 1 and thus de- 
scribed the Ojibways : "The Saulteux, or in the Algonquin, 
Paouitikoungraentaouak, or the Outchipoue, where the 
Fathers are established, from the melting of the snow 
until the commencement of winter, dwell on the banks of a 
river about a half league in breadth, and three leagues in 
length, where the Lake Superior empties into Lake Huron. 
Here the river is abundant in fish, called white, in the Al- 
gonquin, Attikamegue." 

In 1671, the frail bark chapel at Chagouamigon Bay was 
abandoned, and missionaries did not again reside in that 
vicinity, until after one hundred and fifty years. 8 

1 Margry, vol. i. p. 161. 

1 At the request of the principal trader Lyman M. Warren, in the summer of 
1830, Frederick Ayer, who had heen one of the teachers under the Rev. William 
Ferry, Presbyterian missionary at MackiDaw, came to the Island St. Michel, 
which was now called La Pointe, and established a school for Indian children, 
and after a short period returned to Mackinaw. The next year, 1831, Mr. 
Warren, brought up as a missionary, the Rev. Sherman Hall, a graduate of Dart- 



The " Relation of 1670-71," alluding to the mission at the 
extremity of Lake Superior, describes a difficulty with the 
Dakotahs or Sioux: "Our Outaonacs and Hurons of the 
Point of the Holy Ghost have to the present time kept up 
a kind of peace with them, but affairs having become em- 
broiled during last winter, and some murders even having 
been committed on both sides, our savages had reason to 
apprehend that the storm would soon burst upon them, and 
judged that it was safer for them to leave the place, which 
in fact they did in the spring, when they retired to the 
Lake of the Hurons." 1 


To prevent Groseilliers, now in the employ of the Eng- 
lish at Hudson's Bay, from drawing the Indians of Lake 
Superior thither for trade, Talon, the Intendant of Canada, 

mouth College, with his wife, and Frederick Ayer and wife as catechists and 
teachers. In June, 1832, Mr. Hall was joined by his classmate, the Rev. W. T. 
Boutwell, and the latter in October, 1S33, established a mission at Leech Lake, 
the first attempted west of Lake Superior among the Ojibways of Minnesota. 
After this mission was established, Father Baraga, an estimable Roman Catholic 
missionary, built a chapel on the island. 

A guide book published in 1881, with the title u Summer Tours via the Great 
Lakes " promulgates the following fiction : " The Church still stands, a por- 
tion of it being the identical log structure built by Pere Marquette. The 
visitor is shown an old picture which it is said the Pope of that time gave Mar- 
quette for his mission church in the w-ilderness The half-breed 

Indian who acts as guide will open a closet and show the visitor an ancient 
vestment which it is said Pere Marquette wore on great occasions." 

Myths, like the above, silently creep into history, as moths into cloth, and 
are difficult to expel. 

1 Cadillac corroborates this statement, in a letter, written in 1703, from 
Detroit. His words are : " It is proper that you should be informed that more 
than fifty years since [about 1G45] the Iroquois by force of arms drove away 
nearly all of the other Indian nations from this region [Lake Huron] to the ex- 
tremity of Lake Superior, a country north of this post, and frightfully barren 
and inhospitable. About thirty-two years ago [1671] these excited tribes col- 
lected themselves together at Micbillimakinak." Margry, vol. v. p. 317. 



in September, 1670, invited ISficholas Perrot,well acquainted 
with the Upper Algonquin tribes, to act as guide and in- 
terpreter to his deputy Simon Francois Daumont, known 
in history as the Sieur Saint Lusson. In the spring of 
1671, in accordance with a notification from Perrot, the 
tribes of the Upper Lakes began to move toward Sault Ste. 
Marie, and there on the 14th of June, Saint Lusson formed 
a treaty of friendship with the "Achipoes" or Ojibways 
and many other tribes. 1 

When the Hurons fled to Lake Huron, from Lake Supe- 
rior, the Ojibways occupied their hunting grounds, and 
pressed west of Lake Superior, and descended to the Miss- 
issippi, by way of the river in Wisconsin which still bears 
their name, 2 but it was not till the French, in 1692, re- 
established a trading post at Chagouamigon that it became 
an important Ojibway village. 


In 1674, some Sioux warriors arrived at the Sault to 
make peace with the adjacent tribes. While there an In- 
dian assassinated one of the Sioux, and a fight ensued. ISTine 
of the Sioux were killed, and the two survivors fled to the 
Jesuits' house for safety, where they found arms, and 
opened fire upon their foes. The Indians of the Sault 
wished to burn them, with the house, which the Jesuits 
would not allow, as many peltries were stored there. Louis 
Le Bohesme, or Boeme, the armorer and blacksmith of the 

1 The treaty was signed in the presence of D'Ablon, Superior of the mission, 
and his colleagues Dreuilletes, Allonez, and Andre of the Society of Jesus ; 
Nicholas Perrot, interpreter ; Sieur Joliet; Jacques Mogras of Three Rivers; 
Pierre Moreau, the Sieur de la Taupine : Denis Masse ; Francois de Chaviirny, 
Sieur de la Chevrottiere ; Jacques Lagillier ; Jean Maysere ; Nicholas Dupuis ; 
Francois Bibaud ; Jacques Joviel ; Pierre Porteret ; Robert Duprat; Vital 
Driol ; Guillaume Bonhomme. In the Process Verbal the Jesuit Fathers are 
described as then making their mission — Margry, vol. i. p. 97. 

* The Chippeway River, upon Franquelin's Map of 1688, is marked R. des 
Saute urs. 


mission, at length allowed a cannon to be fired at the 
house, by which the Sioux were killed. 

Governor Frontenac was indignant at Le Boeme's course, 
and reported the case to Colbert, the Colonial Minister of 
Louis the Fourteenth. 


Henry Tonty was sent in September, 1679, by La Salle 
to arrest some deserters who were trading at Sault Ste. 
Marie, and had induced Louis Le Bohesme, the lay brother 
of the Jesuits, to conceal their peltries in the mission house. 
Two years afterwards La Salle visited the place, to obtain 
his peltries. Father Balloquet told him that there was a 
large number of similar skins in the loft, above the chapel, 
and if he could prove which were his, he could remove 
them. La Salle with some sharpness replied, " That he 
feared he might be excommunicated if by mistake he 
took peltries which he could not distinguish from his 
own," 1 and returned to Mackinaw. 


After the great council at Sault Ste. Marie, the number 
of traders increased around Lake Superior. Frontenac, 
Governor of Canada, sent his engineer Raudin to the ex- 
tremity of the lake with presents, to conciliate the Sioux 
and Ojibways, and on the 1st of September, 1678, Du Luth 
w T ho had been a gendarme in his French majesty's guard, 
at the battle of Seneffe in 1674, left Montreal for Lake Su- 
perior, with three Indians and three Frenchmen. He win- 
tered in the woods about nine miles from Sault Ste. Marie, 
and after the ice disappeared in the spring of 1679, he pro- 
ceeded to the head of the lake, and was the first person to 
erect a trading post at Kaministigoya, not far from the 
For tWilliam, which at the beginning of the present century, 

i Margry, vol. ii. 116, 226. 



was built by tbe Northwest Company. During the year 
1679 the Sioux and Ojibways were on friendly terms, and 
Du Luth 1 with some Ojibways visited the former. La 
Salle mentions that "the Sauteurs [Ojibways] who are the 
savages who carry peltries to Montreal, and who dwell on 
Lake Superior, wishing to obey the repeated words of the 
Count [Governor Frontenac] made a peace to unite the 
Sauteurs and French, and to trade with the Xadouesioux 
situated about sixty leagues west from Lake Superior." 

In J une, 1680, Du Luth not satisfied with his visit to the 
Sioux country by land left his stopping place eight leagues 
above the Nemitsakouat, now Bois Brule River, with two 
canoes, and an Ojibway guide, a Sioux, and four French- 
men. Ascending the Bois Brule, by breaking down many 
beaver dams, he reached its sources; and then, by a short 
portage, reached the lake from which the River Saint 
Croix flows, and descended this stream to its junction with 
the Mississippi, and by way of the Wisconsin, in the spring 
of 1681 reached Quebec, after an absence of two and a half 
years. In the fall of 1682, he went to France, and wrote 
there a memoir, early in 1683, which Harrisse was the 
first to print, and which Shea has translated and appended 
to his edition of Hennepin's Louisiana, both of whom, in 
giving 1685 as the date of its composition, have fallen into 

As soon as Du Luth returned from France, in 1683, he 
hastened to Mackinaw with a number of canoes, and on 
the 8th of August left that post with thirty men, with 
goods for trading with the Sioux, and proceeded towards 
the Mississippi by the Green Bay route. Father Engelran, 
in a letter from Mackinaw on the 26th of August, to Gov- 
ernor De la Barre, writes : 2 " The result from such an expe- 

1 The spelling of La Salle, and Hennepin, is followed, while du L'Hut is 
more correct. 
* Margry, vol. v. p. 5. 



dition will be of no little importance, if we can only pre- 
vent a rupture between the Outagamis [Foxes] and Sau- 
teurs [Ojibways]." Du Luth is supposed to have erected 
the post upon the borders of the Sioux and Ojibway coun- 
try at the portage at the head of the Saint Croix River, 
which on Franquelin's Map of 1688 is called Fort Saint 

In a few months Du Luth had returned to Mackinaw, 
and soon was called upon to make an impressive exhibi- 
tion of the majesty of the French law among the Ojibways. 1 


During the summer of 1683, Jacques Le Maire and 
Colin Berthot were surprised by three Ojibways, while on 
their way to trade at Keweenaw, and murdered. Their 
bodies were thrown into a marsh, and covered with pine 
boughs to keep them from floating, and the merchandise 
in their canoes was hidden at different points in the woods. 
On the 24th of October, Du Luth was informed that Folle 
Avoine, one of the murderers, had arrived at Sault Ste. 
Marie with fifteen families of Ojibways, who had fled 
from Chao'ouanwon from fear of the Sioux. The French 
at Sault Ste. Marie, twelve in number, had not arrested 
him, because the Ojibways had declared that they would 
not allow the French to redden the land of their fathers 
with the t blood of their brothers. Immediately Du Luth 
resolved to go to the Sault and seize the assassin. At 
dawn of the next day he embarked w T ith two canoes. In 
one was the Jesuit missionary Enjalran, Chevalier Four- 
celle, Cardonniere, and Du Luth ; in the other, Baribaud, 2 

1 The letter of Du Luth copied from the original containing the account 
which follows, maybe found in 2d series, vol. iv., Paris Documents in Parlia- 
ment Library, Ottawa, Canada. It has been translated in Sheldon's Michigan 
from a copy of the original among Cass MSS. 

s Baraboo, in Wisconsin, is a corruption it is said of Baribaud. 



Le Mere, La Fortune, and Macons. A league from the 
Sault, Du Luth and party left the canoe, and through the 
woods walked to the mission house to prevent the guilty 
one from escaping, and soon arrested him, and placed him 
under a guard of six Frenchmen. 

Pere, 1 the expert voyageur, who is supposed to have been 
the same person who discovered that the river Perray, a 
tributary of Lake Nepigon, was a good route to Hudson's 
Bay, was sent to Keweenaw to capture the other murderers. 
During his absence Du Luth held councils with the Ojib- 
ways and told them that they must separate the guilty 
from the innocent or the whole nation would suffer. They 
accused Achiganaga and his sons, but believed that Pere 
would never be able to take them. 

At ten o'clock of the night of the 24th of Xovember 
Pere came through the forest, and said that he had arrested 
Achiganaga and four of his sons, all of whom were not 
guilty, and that Folle Avoine already at the Sault was the 
most guilty. Pere found at Keweenaw eighteen French- 
men who had passed the winter of 1682 at that point. 

Pere had left his prisoners in charge of twelve French- 
men, at a place four leagues from the post, and at dawn of 
the 25th, with four more men he went back, and by two 
o'clock in the afternoon returned with the captives, who 
were placed under guard in a room in Du Luth's house. 

On the 26th a council was held, and each prisoner was 
allowed two of his relatives to defend his interests. Each 
of the accused was questioned, and his answers written, 
and afterwards read to him, and inquiry made whether 
they were correct. 

1 Pere and Nicholas Perrot have sometimes been considered as the same 
person. In 1677, the Sieur Pere* was with La Salle, at Fort Frontenac. In 
1679, Pere was alienated from La Salle, and employed by Governor Andros of 
New York. After this he appears to have been " a close prisoner at London 
for eighteen months." Governor Dongan of New York, on Sept. 8, 1687, sends 
La Perre (Per£) to Canada " with an answer to the French Governor's angry 


As Folle Avoine had insinuated that his father Achi- 
ganaga was an accessory to the murder, the latter was 
brought into the presence of his four sons, and when the 
latter were asked if he had advised them to kill the French- 
men they answered, u ^o." 

"This confrontation," writes Du Luth, "which the sav- 
ages did not expect, surprised them, and seeing the pris- 
oners had convicted themselves, the chiefs in council said, 
* It is enough ; you accuse yourselves ; the French are 
masters of your bodies.' " 

On the 28th another council was held in the lodge of the 
chief Brochet, where it was hoped that the Indians would 
say what ought to be done, but it only ended "in reducing 
tobacco to ashes." 

On the 29th all the French at the Sault were called to- 
gether, and the questions to, and answers of the prisoners 
read, after which it was the unanimous opinion that three 
of the sons were guilty. As only two Frenchmen had 
been killed Du Luth and De la Tour, the Superior of the 
Jesuit mission, decided that only Folle Avoine, and the 
brother next in age to him, should suffer the penalty of the 

Du Luth then returned to the lodge of Brochet, accom- 
panied by Boisguillot, 1 Pere, De Repentigny, De Manthet, 
De la Ferte, and Magons. Here were gathered all the 
chiefs of the Outawas du Sable, Outawas Sinagos, Kiska- 
kons, Sauteurs, DAchiliny, some Hurons and Oumamens, 
the chief of the Amikoues, and Du Luth announced that 
the Frenchmen had been killed, and it had been de- 
cided that two of those engaged in the murder should be 
put to death, and left the council. The J esuit missionaries 
now baptized the culprits, and Du Luth writes: "An hour 
after I put myself at the head of forty-two Frenchmen, 
and in sight of more than four hundred savages, and 

1 Boisguillot was afterwards a trader near the mouth of the Wisconsin. 



within two hundred paces of their fort, I caused the two 
murderers to be shot." 1 

1 While Du Luth was thus occupied Groseilliers and Radisson. who had left 
the English, were in Paris, as will be 6een from the following dispatches of 
Lord Preston, the English Ambassador, which have never been published in 
this country. 

Preston, in 16S3, informs the English government that the French Canadians 
had burned the Hudson Bay Company's house, taken prisoners John Bridger 
and servants, planted the French standard, and changed the names of two 
branches of the river, calling one Port Bourbon, and that in August they had 
seized an English ship called the " Bachelors' Delight," and requested the 
French authorities to arrest Radisson the leader of the assault on Port Nelson. 
Under the date of 19th of January, 1683-S4, he writes to England : " Sent my 
Secretary, to know if the King had ordered any answer concerning the attack 
upon Nelson's Port. I find the great support of Mons. de la Barre, the present 
Governor of Canada, is from the Jesuits of this Court, which order always hath 
a great number of missionaries in that region, who besides the conversion of 
infidels, have had the address to engross the whole castor trade, from which 
they draw considerable advantage. The late Governor, the Marquis de Fron- 
tenac, did ever oppose himself to their designs, and executed the King his 
Master's right to that traffique, but they found the means by the interests of 
Father de la Chaise, to have him recalled and the present Governor sent, who 
complyeth wholly with them, and giveth them no kind of trouble in their 
commerce Raditon [Radisson] arrived about the time you men- 
tioned, at Rochelle, and hath been in Paris these five days. There came on 
shore, at the same time, from a merchant vessel, Des Groselieres, a person 
whose story is well known, in those countries, and who accompanied the others 
in his action. I am told that they both took possession for the English, this 
very Nelson's River and Port, by a commission which they had from England. 
A friend of mine who hath seen the former since his arrival tells me that he 
finds him much alarmed with the charge against him." 

After asking that charts, and the voyages of Baffin, Nelson, Fox, and others 
may be sent to him, Lord Preston continues : " I rather desire this, because I 
hear Radisson is come charged with a great number of them which are doubt- 
less drawn for his purpose. I am told privately, that a relation of the taking 
possession of Port Nelson in the name of the English, by these very men Des 
Groselieres and Radisson may be found \mong the papers of Prince Robert 

On the 26th of January he writes again : " I am informed that Radisson and 
Des Groselieres have seen Mons. de Seignelay since their arrival, who informed 
him, that they had lived in that country for many years, in very good intelli- 
gence with the English, having furnished them with provender, but that they 
having a design once to insult them, and to take from them three or four hun- 
dred pounds of powder, they defended themselves, and that the English com- 
menced hostilities." — Seventh Report of the Royal Historical Commission. 



In 1684, by order of Gov. De la Barre, he went to Viag- 
ra with Indian allies, but returned to the Lake Superior 
region the same autumn. In the fall of 1686 he withdrew 
from the Upper Lakes, and constructed a fort, near the 
entrance of Lake Huron, about thirty miles above the site 
of the city of Detroit, to intercept the English traders who 
were beginning to carry goods to the Upper Lakes, and 
undersell the French. 1 

During the summer of 1687, he proceeded with the In- 
dians of the Upper Lakes to aid the French against the 
Seneca Iroquois. The Governor of Canada in his report to 
the French government mentions the good service rendered 
by Du Luth, and wrote, that on the 13th of July " M. de 
Callieres, who was at the head of three companies com- 
manded by Tonty, De la Durantaye, and Du Lhu, and of 
all our Indians, fell about three o'clock in the afternoon 
into an ambuscade of Senecas, posted in the vicinity of 
that defile." After a short conflict, the French, at night, 
maintained a bivouac, and the next day pursued the flying 

The Governor writes: "We witnessed the painful sight 
of the usual cruelties of the savages, who cut the dead in 

1 The following table in N. T. Col. Docs. ix. 408, shows the cheapness of 
English goods in 1G89 :— 

The Indian pays for At Orange (Albany). Montreal. 

8 pounds of powder ..... One beaver. Four. 

A gun Two " Five. 

40 lbs. of lead One " Three. 

Red blanket One " Two. 

White " . One " Two. 

6 pr' stockings . . . ... One " Two. 

4 shirts . One " Two. 

The English give 6 q'ts of eau de vie West India rum for one beaver. The 
French have no fixed rate in trading brandy, but never give a quart for one 

The English do not discriminate in the quality of beaver but take all, at the 
same rate, 50 per cent, higher than the French. 



quarters, as is done in slaughter-houses, in order to put 
them into the kettle; the greater number was opened 
while still warm that their blood might be drank. Our 
rascally Otaoas distinguished themselves particularly by 
these barbarities, and by their poltroonery ; the Hurons of 
Michilimaquina did very well." 1 


After this battle, fear of the Iroquois stopped the fur 
trade beyond Lake Erie, and the merchants of Montreal 
and Quebec were impoverished. 

Du Luth, in the summer of 1687, came back for a short 
time to Fort St. Joseph, and one of his escorts was La- 


Early in June, 1688, Lahontan visited the Falls of Saint 
Mary, where he found a village of Outchipoues, or Saul- 
teurs, not far from the Jesuit's house. On the 13th, he 
left with forty Saulteurs, in five canoes, and at Mackinaw 
was joined by a party of Ottawas. On the first of J uly 
he reached Fort St. Joseph. Two days later, he and the 
Indians embarked for Lake Erie, and on the 28th the 
Saulteurs had a fight with the Iroquois, in which they lost 
four of their number, but killed three, wounded five, and 
took prisoners the remainder of the Iroquois party. On the 
24th of August, Lahontan returned to Fort St. Joseph, 
which had been built in 1686-87 by Du Luth. A Miami 
Indian having brought the intelligence that the fort at 
Niagara had been demolished by order of the Governor of 
Canada, on the 27th of August, he burned Fort St. Joseph, 
and retired to Mackinaw. 

Lahontan mentions that when he was at Sault Ste. 
Marie there was no permanent Indian village on the banks 

1 Denonville, N. T. Col. Docs. ix. 338, 365. 



of Lake Superior. The first trading post of Du Luth at 
Kaministigoya was given up, while a post existed at 
Chagouamigon, Lemipiscki (Xepigon), and at the River 
Bagouache, on the north shore, a short distance east of the 
outlet of Lake Xepigon. 


After 1689, the trading post and mission house was 
abandoned at Sault Ste. Marie, and Mackinaw became the 
central point for traders and missionaries. 

In May, 1690, Governor Frontenac sent M. de Lou- 
vigny, a half-pay captain, to relieve Sieur du la Durantaye, 
at Mackinaw, and Nicholas Perrot accompanied him, with 
presents and messages for the upper nations. As a result 
of this visit, in August, five hundred of the upper Indians 
arrived at Montreal to trade, and the merchants rejoiced, 
as so large a number had not appeared for a long time. 

On the 25th, Count Frontenac, the Governor, gave them 
a grand feast of two oxen, six large dogs, two barrels of 
wine, some prunes, and plenty of tobacco to smoke. 1 

MACKINAW A. D. 1700. 

Sieur de Lamothe Cadillac, commandant at Mackinaw 
for several years, has left an accurate description of the 
place. After describing the island of Missilimackinak he 
writes: 2 "Opposite this island is a large sandy cove on 
the border of the lake, and in the middle of this is the 
French fort, where the garrison and commandant reside. 
The post is called the Fort de Buade. The monastery of 
the Jesuits, the village of the French, and that of the 
Hurons and Ottawas adjoin one another and fill up the 
border at the bottom of the anse or cove." 

The Hurons and Ottawas were the same which had once 

1 Occurrences of 1689-90, N. Y. Col. Docs. ix. 478, 479. 
* Margry, vol. v. p. SO. 



lived on the shores of Chagouamigon Bay, and had been 
driven away by the Sioux. 1 While they lived in perfect 
harmony, they did not speak the same language. The 
Hurons were separated by a palisade. The settlement of 
Mackinaw on the mainland was at that time well fortified. 
The pickets of the outside circle were of pine and about 
thirty feet high. The second circle was a foot from the 
former, the third, four feet from the second, three feet and 
a half in diameter, and fifteen or sixteen feet high. The 
pickets were closely planted, with loop holes at certain 
distances. The Indian cabins were arched, made by plant- 
ing poles, bending them at the top, and fastening with the 
roots of the birch. They were covered with the bark of 
fir or cedar trees. They were one hundred or one hundred 
and thirty feet long, twenty-four wide, and twenty in 
height. At each end was an opening. 


In May, 1692, Frontenac determined to obtain the furs 
which had accumulated at Mackinaw, and Lt' d Argen- 
teuil with eighteen Canadians, who undertook the voyage 
in the hope of a handsome reward, bore dispatches to Lou- 
vigny, the officer at the post, ordering him to send down 
not only the peltries, but the two hundred Frenchmen 
who were dispersed among the upper tribes. On the 17th 
of August, more than two hundred canoes arrived at Mon- 
treal with furs, Indians, and Frenchmen. In the language 
of a " Narrative" of that period, 2 " It is impossible to con- 
ceive the joy of the public in beholding such a vast quan- 
tity of riches. For several years Canada had been impa- 
tiently waiting for this prodigious heap of beaver, which 
was reported to be at Missilimakinac. The merchant, the 

1 Margry, vol. v. p. 80. For description of Hurons at Chagouamigon, see page 

2 Occurrences of 1692-93, N. T. Col. Docs. ix. 509. 



farmer, and other individuals who might have some pel- 
tries there, were dying of hunger, with property they did 
not enjoy. Credit was exhausted, and the apprehension 
universal, that the enemy would become masters, on the 
way, of the last resource of the country." 

Frontenac came down from Quebec, and on the sixth of 
September, which was Sunday, he entertained the princi- 
pal chiefs, and the next day distributed presents, and made 
arrangements for the reoccupation of the Northwest. 


Pierre Le Sueur was sent to remain at Chagouamigon, 
and the Narrative of Occurrences of 1692-93 writes that he 
was "to endeavor to maintain the peace lately concluded 
between the Sauteurs and the Sioux. This is of the 
greatest consequence, as it is now the sole pass by which 
access can be had to the latter nation, whose trade is very 
profitable, the country to the south being occupied by the 
Foxes and the Mascontins, who have already several times 
plundered the French, under pretence that they were carry- 
ing ammunition to the Sioux their ancient enemies. These 
frequent interruptions would have been punished ere this, 
had we not been occupied elsewhere. Le Sueur it is to be 
hoped will facilitate the northern route for us, by means 
of the great influence he possesses among the Sioux." 1 

1 Pierre Le Sueur was the son of a Frenchman from Artois, and in 1657 was 
born. In company with Nicholas Perrot, byway of the Wisconsin, he visited the 
Upper Mississippi, and in 1689 was at Fort St. Antoine on the Wisconsin side 
of Lake Pepin, when Perrot took formal possession of the country. In the 
Proces Verbal the Minnesota River is for the first time called St. Pierre. As 
the post at the mouth of the Wisconsin in a map of 1688 is called Fort St. 
Nicolas in compliment to Perrot, and as the Assineboine River was once called 
St. Charles, in compliment to Charles Beauharnois, Governor of Canada, and 
the St. Croix after a voyageur of that name, it has been supposed that the St. 
Pierre River was called after the baptismal name of Pierre Le Sueur. In 1690, 
he married Marguerite Messier, the first cousin of Pierre Lemoyne, the Sieur 
D'Iberville, who was the first Governor of Louisiana. 




It is supposed, that at this time, the Ojibways began to 
concentrate in a village, upon the shores of Chagouamigon 
Bay. It was the interest of the French to draw them as 
far away as possible from the influence of English traders, 
who had appeared in the vicinity of Mackinaw. 

A deputation of the Indians, around Mackinaw, arrived 
at Montreal, in the summer of 1694, and went back with 
a number of traders, about the end of September. The 
convoy was commanded by Sieur Delamothe Cadillac, cap- 
tain of marines, on his way to relieve Sieur de Louvigny. 

Sieur Le Sueur arrived at Montreal, on the 15th of July, 
1695, with five Frenchmen, and a party of Lake Superior 
Indians, as well as a Sioux Indian and squaw, the first who 
ever visited Montreal. 1 


The Indians were much impressed, by witnessing the 
army, under Chevalier Cresafi, distinguished by ancestry 
and bravery, march through the streets on their way to 
Lake Ontario. On the 18th of July they were formally 
received by Governor Frontenac, in presence of the princi- 
pal persons of the town. Chingouabe, chief of the Sauteurs 
(Ojibways) said: "That he was come to pay his respects to 
Onontio, in the name of the young warriors of Point Chago- 
uamigon, and to thank him for having given them some 
Frenchmen to dwell with them; and to testify their sor- 
row for one J obin, a Frenchman who was killed at a feast. 
It occurred accidentally not maliciously. ¥e came to ask 
a favor of you. We are allies of the Sciou. Some Outa- 
gamis or Mascoutens have been killed. The Sciou came 
to mourn with us. Let us act, father, and take revenge. 
Le Sueur alone, who is acquainted with the language of 
the one and the other, can serve us. We ask that he return 
with us." 

1 Narrative of Occurrences 1694-95, N. Y. Col. Docs. ix. vol. 




After the council was over, the Indians passed several 
days in trading their furs, and wondering at the ways of 
the white man, but on the 29th, they were called together 
again, and Frontenac replied to the Ojibway chief: "Chin- 
gouabe, my son, I am very glad to have learned, by the 
thanks you present me, for having giving you some French- 
men to reside with your nation, that you are sensible of the 
advantages you derive from the articles they convey you; 
and to behold your family now clothed like my other chil- 
dren, instead of wearing bear skins as you formerly were 
in the habit of doing. If you wish me to continue send- 
ing you the same aid, and to increase it more hereafter, 
you must also resolve to listen attentively to my voice ; to 
obey the orders that will be given to you in my name, by 
Le Sueur, whom I again send to command at Chagouami- 
gon, and to think only of making war on the Iroquois 
tribe, your mortal enemy, as well as the deadly foe of all 
the upper nations, and who has become mine, because I 
have taken your part, and prevented him oppressing you. 

"Embarrass not yourself then with new quarrels, nor 
meddle with those the Sioux have with the Foxes and 
Mascoutens, and others, except for the purpose of allaying 
their resentments. I reply not to the regret you have ex- 
pressed to me, for the misfortune that overtook the French- 
man named Jobin, because I am informed that it was an 
accident, and that you are not to blame therefore." 


After the distribution of presents, Chingouabe said: 
"Father! it is not the same with us, as with you. When 
you command, all the French obey you and go to war. 
But I shall not be heeded, and obeyed by my nation in 
like manner. Therefore I cannot answer, except for my- 


self, and those immediately allied or related to me. Never- 
theless I shall communicate your pleasure to all the Sau- 
teurs, and in order that you may be satisfied of what I say, 
I will invite the French who are in my village to be wit- 
nesses of what I shall tell my people in your behalf." 

Two days after this the Ojibways left for Lake Supe- 
rior. 1 


Owing to the hostility of the Sacs and Foxes, for some 
time after the year 1700, the French had little intercourse 
with the Ojibways. By the Treaty of Utrecht, concluded 
in 1713, the French relinquished all posts on Hudson's 
Bay to the English, and it was necessary to check Indians 
disposed to go there to trade. In 1716, therefore, the 
Canadian authorities decided to open the Lake Superior 
trade, and seek for a sea toward the west. A dispatch of 
the 7th of December to the French governor uses this 
language : — 

"MM. de Vaudreuil and Begon having written last year 
that the discovery of the Sea of the West would be advan- 
tageous to the colony, it was agreed that to reach it M. de 
Yaudreuil should establish three posts which he had pro- 
posed, and he was notified at the same time to have them 
established without any cost to the king, seeing that the 
commerce would indemnify those who founded them; and 
to send a detailed estimate of the cost of continuing the 
discovery. They stated in reply that M. Yaudreuil in the 
month of July last [1717] had caused Sieur de la Xoiie, 
lieutenant, with eight canoes to carry out this project of 
discovery. He was ordered to establish the first post at 
the river of Kamanistiquoya, and the north part of Lake 
Superior, after which he was to go to Takamunigen, to- 
ward the lake of the Christineaux to build the second, and 

1 N. Y. Col. Docs. ix. 612. 



to acquire the necessary information from the Indians to 
find the third, at the Lake of the Assinipoelles [Winnepeg]. 

"This journey costs the king nothing because those en- 
gaged in it will be remunerated for their outlay by the 
trade which they will engage in; but to follow up the 
discovery it is absolutely necessary that his Majesty should 
bear the expenses because the persons employed in it will 
have to give up all idea of trade. They estimated that 
fifty good canoes will be required; of these, twenty-four 
will be engaged in making the -discovery from the Lake of 
the Assinipoelles to the Sea of the West. They calculated 
the wages of these men at 300 francs a year each, and esti- 
mated that the expenditure as well for provisions and 
canoes, and for goods for presents will amount 

to f. 29,023.10 

There will have to be added for supplementary 

outfit, 600 francs for each of the six officers 

employed in the discovery 3,600.10 

Total, 32,623.20 

As it will take about two years to make this journey, 
they estimate the expenditure may amount to fifty thous- 
and francs." 1 


Lt. Eobertel le la !N"oue late in the fall of 1717 was at 
Kaministiquoya and found few Indians. He wrote by a 
French trader, who was at Point Chagouamigon, to the 
chief of the Sioux, in the hope of effecting a peace with the 

Captain St. Pierre 2 and Ensign Linctot in September, 

1 French 3fSS. 3d series, vol. vi., Parliament Library, Ottawa. Lindsey's 
BoundaHes of Ontario, pp. 206, 207 ; Mills' Boundaries of Ontario, pp. 231, 232. 

2 Captain Paul Legardeur Saint Pierre was the son of J. Baptiste Lejrardeur, 
who on the 11th of July, 1656, had married Marguerite, the daughter of the 
brave explorer Jean Nicolet, the first white man who in 1634-35 visited Green 
Bay and vicinity in Wisconsin. 



1718, were ordered to Chagouamigon, because the Ojibway 
chief there, and also at Keweenaw, were threatening war 
against the Foxes. Upon De l'lsle's Map, revised by 
Buache in 1745, a French establishment (Maison Francaise) 
appears at Chagouamigon Bay. 

The authorities of Canada 1 on the 14th of November, 

1719, wrote: "The Sieur Yandreuil has not received any 
letter from Sieur de la iSToue: he has only learnt by way 
of Chagouamigon, which is in the south extremity of 
Lake Superior, where Sieur St. Pierre has been in com- 
mand since last year, that Sieur Pachot had passed there, 
on his way to the Sioux, where lie was sent by the Sieur 
de la Xoiie, on the subject of the peace he was trying to 
bring about between this nation and that of the Christe- 
naux, but that Pachot had not returned to Chagouamigon 
when the canoes left." 


Linctot, who had succeeded Saint Pierre in the command 
at Chagouamigon, made peace between the Sioux and 
Ojibways, and when the latter visited Montreal, they were 
thus addressed by Longeuil, then Governor of Canada: "I 
am rejoiced, my children of the Sauteurs, at the peace 
which Monsieur De Linctot has procured for you, with the 
Sioux your neighbors, also, on account of the prisoners you 
have restored to them. I desire him, in the letter, which 
I now give you, my son Cabina, for him, that he maintain 
this peace, and support the happy reunion which now ap- 
pears to exist between the Sioux and you. I hope he 
will succeed in it, if you are attentive to his words, and if 
you follow the lights he will show you. 

"My heart is sad on account of the blows which the 
Foxes of Green Bay have given you, of which you have 

1 Ottawa MSS., 3d series, vol. yli. 



just spoken, and of which the commandant has written in 
his letter. It appears to me that Heaven has revenged you 
for your losses, since it has given you the flesh of a young 
Fox to eat. 

"You have done well to listen to the words of your com- 
mandant to keep quiet and respect the words of your 

Father There is coming from France a new 

Father, who will not fail to inform you, as soon as he shall 
be able to take measures and stop the bad affair which the 
Foxes wish to cause in future." 


In the year 1730, an Indian brought to the French post, 
at Chagouamigon Bay, a nugget of copper, which led to 
the supposition that there was a mine of this metal in the 
vicinity. On the 18th of October, 1731, the Canadian au- 
thorities wrote to the French government that they had 
received no satisfactory report of the situation or quality 
of the mine alleged to be in the neighborhood of the " Bay 
of Chagouamigon," and that the Indians were very supersti- 
tious about such discoveries, and were unwilling to reveal. 


The officer in command at Chagouamigon at this time 
was Sieur La Ronde Denis, who had received a concession 
to work copper mines. He and his son Ensign Denis de 
la Eonde were zealous in this business, and the latter ex- 
plored one of the islands. A dispatch of the day men- 
tions that La Ronde u had been ordered with his son to 
build at the river St. Anne a house of logs two hundred 
feet long, with a fort and curtain, which he assures us he 
has executed. He has had other expenses on account of 
the mines, such as voyages and presents for the Indians. 
He has constructed at his own expense a bark of forty tons 
on Lake Superior, and was obliged to transport in canoes, 



as far as Sault Ste. Marie, the rigging and materials for 
the vessel. The post Chagouamigon was given him as a 
gratuity to defray expenses." 

In 1736, the Governor of Canada wrote to France that 
there was increased hope of obtaining copper from Lake 
Superior, and that the Indians had reported that a certain 
isle, which appears on the new map, abounded in copper. 
" If this were true they will pass by the Riviere au Fer, 1 
from which had been taken the lumps of copper which 
were sent this year. The son of De la Ronde will visit 
this isle and make a report." Allusion is made in the 
same communication, that the Renards and their allies 
hunted in the vicinity of the River Tounagaune [Ontana- 
gon], and it was recommended that the region should be 
explored by an experienced miner. 

During the winter of 1740, La Ronde was in Canada 
and ordered to return to Chagouamigon. On his arrival 
at Mackinaw, in the spring, he was so sick that he re- 
turned to Montreal. 2 

On Bellin's Map of 1744, the island opposite Bayfield, 
now called Madaline, is named La Ronde. 3 


The Sieur Veranderie, who had been stationed in 1727 
at Lake jSTepigon, was the first to perfect an expedition 
for the exploration of the chain of lakes which form the 
northern boundary of Minnesota. Three of his sons, and 

1 On modern maps still called Iron River. N. Bellin, in a map of Lake Su- 
perior, in Charlevoix's Nouvelle France, Paris, A. D, 1744, calls the stream 
Piouabic or R. au Cuivre. Baraga gives Miskwabik, as the Ojibway word for 
copper. Lahontan gives Piouabic for iron, which Carver writes Pewawbick. 
Iron River is east of Bois Brul£ River. 

3 Letter of Beauharnois among Martin MSS. in Ottawa Library. 

s The first Sieur de La Ronde was Pierre Denis or Denys, born A. D. 1030, 
married in 1655 to Catharine Le Neuf, of Quebec. It was his grandson who 
received the monopoly of the fur trade at Chagouamigon. 


a nephew, in the autumn of 1731, succeeded in reaching 
Rainy Lake ; and the next year, the Lake of the "Woods, 
and year after year they pushed westward, until two of his 
sons in January, 1743, were the first Frenchmen to reach 
the Rocky Mountains. 1 


Until after 1730, the Ojibways did not have any foothold 
west of Lake Superior. 

There is extant a statement of the position of the tribes 
of Lake Superior and vicinity in 1736, which that year 
was prepared at Mackinaw. 2 


At the Said St. Marie were the Sauteurs (Ojibways) to 
the number of thirty men, they were in two divisions, and 
had for a device the Crane and the Catfish. 

At Kiouanau (Keweenaw) were forty Sauteurs, with the 
device of the Crane and the Stag. 

At Point Chagouamigon there were one hundred and 
fifty Sauteurs. 

1 Suite, in an article in Nouvelles Soirees Canadiennes for January, 1884, pub- 
lished at Montreal, mentions that this name is spelled in documents in four- 
teen different ways, among- others Veranderie, Verandrie, Verendrie, Veren- 
derie, and Verendrye. He also gives the extract from the parish register of 
Three Rivers as to the baptism of this explorer. Freely translated it reads 
" The 18th day of November, 1681, by me F. G. de Brullon, cure of the parish 
church Notre Dame of Three Rivers has been baptised in said church, Pierre 
Gualtier, son of Rene Gualtier Esquire, the Sieur de'Varenne and Governor of 
Three Rivers, and Marie Boucher, his wife. The infant was born on the 17th 
of November. His godfather was Pierre Boucher his grandfather, in the 
place of his son Lambert, and the godmother was Magdeleine Gualtier his 

Veranderie's brother Louis was in 16S9 an ensign in Canada. In the register 
of Varennes in 1702, 1704, 1707, the name of the explorer appears as Pierre 
Gauthier de Varennes, Sieur de " Boumois." In a document of 1707 he is 
called Sieur de Boumois de la Veranderie. After this he went to Europe, and 
was on Sept. 11, 1709, at the battle of Malplaquet. Returning: to Canada he 
was married at Quebec, October 29, 1712, to Anne Dandonneau. 

3 N. Y. Col. Doc. vol. ix. 




Here there were one hundred Indians, not Ojibways, of 
the same tribe as those at Lake Xepigon. 


The Christenaux to the number of two hundred were in 
this vicinity. Their device was the Wild Goose. 


In this region were Christenaux to the number of sixty, 
and south of the lake one hundred and fifty Assinipoels or 

While twenty-one of Veranderie's party, in June, 1736, 
were camped upon an isle in Lake of the Woods, they 
were surprised by a band of the Sioux, and among the 
killed were five voyageurs, a priest, and a son of Veran- 
derie. 1 Four years after this attack, Joseph Le France, a 
half-breed born at Saut St. Marie, whose mother was an 
Ojibway, in 1740, by the north shore of Lake Superior and 
the chain of lakes to Winnipeg, reached the Hudson Bay 
Company posts, and in his narrative he mentions the tribes 
he found. 

After the discovery of the Rocky Mountains, Veranderie 
prepared to send his sons toward the Saskatchewan River. 
They were succeeded by Jacques Legardeur Saint Pierre, 2 

1 After this it was French policy to encourage the Ojibways to expel the 
Sioux between Lake Superior and Mississippi River. 

On the map prepared in 1737, to show Veranderie's route, the Red River of 
the North, and the point of the Big Woods thereon, and Red Lake are marked, 
and the Christineaux are represented around Lake Winnipeg, and the Assine- 
boines in the valley of the Red River. 

3 Saint Pierre, born in 1701, was the son of Paul Legardeur, the Sieur St. 
Pierre, born in 1661. His grandfather married Marguerite the daughter of 
Jean Nicolet, the brave explorer, who as early as 1631 reached Green Bay, Wis- 
consin. See NeilPs History of Minnesota. 5th edition, 1883, p. 863. His inter- 
view with Washington is well known. He was killed in battle in September, 
1755, near Lake George. His widow married the noted La Corne. 



whose party went along that river, and built in 1752 Fort 
Jonquiere, toward the Rocky Mountains. The Christenaux 
burned down Fort La Heine on the Assineboine River, and 
attempted to kill Saint Pierre. 

Marquis Du Quesne, Governor of Canada, recalled Saint 
Pierre, and sent him to the forests of Pennsylvania. St. 
Luc de la Corne then took charge of the posts beyond 
Lake Superior. 1 


Bougainville, an Aide de Camp of General Montcalm, in 
a memoir on the state of Canada, published in 1757, gives 
a good account of the posts west of Lake Superior. He 
writes: "La Mer d'Onest is a post that includes the Forts 
St. Pierre, St. Charles, Bourbon, de la Peine, and Dauphin, 
Poskoyac, and des Prairies, all of which are built with palis- 
ades that can give protection only against Indians." Fort 
St. Pierre is described as on Rainy Lake ; Fort St. Charles 
as on a peninsula that goes far into the Lake of the Woods ; 
Fort Bourbon, 150 leagues from Fort St, Charles, at the 
entrance of the Poskoyac or Saskatchewan into Lake Win- 
nipeg. Fort La Reine was on the right bank of the As- 
sineboine River, 60 leagues from Fort Bourbon; Fort 
Dauphin 80 leagues from La Reine. Fort Poskoyac was 

1 La Corne was at Ticonderoga, and at Quebec in the battles with the Brit- 
ish. During the American war for independence he was with the Indian 
allies of the British, at the battle of Saratoga. In a letter of Thomas Jefferson's 
dated Oct. 11, 1775, published for the first time, in Nov. 1868, in Dawson's His- 
torical Magazine, he alludes to La Corne in these words : " This St. Luc is a 
great Seigneur amongst the Canadians, and almost absolute with the Indians, 
he has been our most bitter enemy, and is acknowledged to be the greatest of 
all scoundrels : to be assured of this I need only mention to you that he is the 
ruffian, who, when during the late war Fort William Henry was surrendered 
to the French and Indians, on condition of saving the lives of the garrison, 
had every soul murdered in cold blood." 

St. Luc on Sept. 3, 1757, married Marie Joseph Gualtier, the widow of Le- 
gardeur de St. Pierre. 


built on the river of that name 180 leagues from Dauphin. 
The Fort des Prairies is eighty leagues from Poskoyac 
on the banks of the same river. 

This post, writes Bougainville, "called 4 The Sea of the 
"West/ embracing as it did the whole country from Rainy 
Lake to the Rocky Mountains, and from Xorth Saskat- 
chewan to the Missouri, was in the gift of the Governor 
General of Canada, and was bestowed by him upon his 
favorites. It produced yearly from 300 to 400 bundles of 
furs, and the commanding officer leased the post for the 
annual sum of 8000 francs." 


During the year 1746, under English influence, the Ojib- 
ways of Lake Superior became unfriendly to the French. 
Two canoes from Montreal, on their way to Lake Superior, 
were attacked at La Cloche, an isle in Lake Huron, by 
Ojibways. Members of the same tribe at Grosse Isle, near 
Mackinaw, stabbed a Frenchman, and the horses and 
cattle at Mackinaw were killed, and to prevent surprise, 
the officer of the fort was obliged to beat the " tap-too.'" 1 
Governor Galissoniere of Canada, in a dispatch of October 
1748, to Count Maurepas in charge of the colonies of 
France 2 wrote: "Voyageurs robbed and maltreated at 
Sault Ste. Marie, and elsewhere on Lake Superior ; in fine 
there appears to be no security anywhere." 


The last French officer at Chagouamigon Point was 
Hertel de Beaubassin. When an ensign of infantry, in 
1748, with some Indian allies he made an incursion toward 
Albany, and thirty houses of unsuspecting settlers were 
burned. In August, 1749, he came to Albany 3 by direc- 

1 N. Y Pot. Docs. vol. x. p. 119. * N. Y. Col. Docs. x. 182. 

» N. Y. Col. Docs. vi. 526. 



tion of the Governor of Canada, relative to the exchange 
of prisoners. After this he was the commandant at La 
Pointe, 1 and left in 1756, with Ojibways, as allies for the 
French, in the war against the English of JSew York and 
New England. 2 


The editor of the Detroit Gazette, on the 30th of Au- 
gust, 1822, published 3 an account of a tragedy which is 
said to have occurred on Cadotte's, Middle, or Montreal 
Island of the old voyageurs, now called La Pointe or 
Madaline Island. The trader William Morrison had re- 
lated the following story to a friend. 

In the autumn of 1760, there was only one trader on the 
Island, with his wife from Montreal, a young son, and a 
servant. During the next winter the servant killed the 
trader and his wife and son. When traders, in the spring, 
returned to the post they inquired for the missing trader 
and family. The servant said that in March they went 
to a sugar camp, and had never come back. After the 
snow melted they found the bodies buried near the post. 
The servant was then seized, and in a canoe sent to Mon- 
treal for trial. "When the Indians, in charge of the canoe, 
reached the Longe Saut, of the St. Lawrence River, they 
learned of the advance of the English forces in Canada, 
and with the prisoner became a war party against the 
English and allied Indians. Not being successful, they 
commenced the return voyage, bringing the murderer 
with them. When they approached the Sault Ste. Marie, 

1 N. Y. Col. Docs. x. 424. 

* De Ramelia was in 1744 commandant at Nepigon. In 1747, Du Plessis de 
Morampont was in command at Kamanetijjuia, afterwards Fort William. -In 
1752 Beaujeu de Ville Monde was there, The next year he was sent to Mack- 
inaw. He did not die until June 5, 1802, in Canada. 

3 The entire article has been reprinted in the 8th volume of the Wisconsin 
Historical Society Collections. 



they stopped, and held a dance. Each one struck the 
post, and told the story of his exploits. The murderer, 
when he came up, boastfully narrated that he had killed 
the trader and his family. The next day the chief called his 
men aside, and said that the white man should never have 
boasted of murdering his employer and family: and added, 
44 We boast of having killed our enemies, never our friends. 
JS"ow he is going back to the place where we live, and per- 
haps he will again murder. He is a bad man; neither we 
nor our friends are safe. If you are of my mind, we will 
strike this man on the head." 

They then invited him to a feast, and urged him to eat 
all he could, and as soon as he ceased to eat he was killed. 
The chief cut up the body and boiled it for another feast, 
but the Indians refused to partake of it, and said: "He 
was not worthy to be eaten ; he was worse than a bad dog. 
We will not taste him, for if we do, we shall be worse than 


As the French began to attack the settlements of JSew 
England and isew York, the upper Indians offered their 
services. Governor Beauharnois, under date of the 28th of 
October, 1745, wrote to the French government : a Sieur de 
la Corne, the elder, whom I have sent to command at Mis- 
silimakinak, wrote to me on the 29th of August last that 
at that post sixty Outaouacs and Saulteaux applied to him, 
for M* Xoyelle, Jr., who is deputy there, to conduct them 
to Montreal, in order to attack the English ; I have reason 
to expect them from day to day." 

Among the Indians at Ticonderoga with the French 
army in 1757, with La Plante, De Lorimer and Chesne* as 
interpreter, were thirty-three Ojibways from Chagouamigon, 
twenty-three of Beaver, fourteen of Coasekimagen, thirty- 
seven of the Carp, and fifty of Cabibonke. 




Louis Legardeur, Chevalier de Repentigny, belonged to 
one of the most distinguished families of Canada. As 
early as 163*2 his great-grandfather came to Canada. His 
grandfather was the eldest of twenty-three brothers. His 
father, Paul Legardeur Sieur St. Pierre, after the treaty of 
Utrecht, in 1718, re-established the post at Chagouamigon, 
and in 1733 died. Louis was born in 1727, and at the age 
of fourteen entered the service. In 1746 he was in an ex- 
pedition toward Albany, and then w T ent to Mackinaw, and 
in 1748 returned with eighteen canoes of Indians. With 
these and other Indians he made an attack near Schenec- 
tady, and eleven prisoners and twenty-five scalps were 

In 1749 he was again at Mackinaw, the second in com- 
mand. His brother, Jacques Legardeur St. Pierre, was in 
command, the same who was once in charge at Lake Pepin, 
and afterwards, in 1753, at a post near Erie, Pa., where 
Washington visited him, bearing a dispatch from the 
Governor of Virginia. 

The grasping and miserly Governor Jonquiere in 1750 
gave to his nephew, Captain De Bonne, and Chevalier de 
Pepentigny, a grant at Sault Ste. Marie of six leagues 
front upon the portage by six leagues in depth, bordering 
on the river below the rapids. 

Repentigny, brought J. B. Caclot 1 and other hired per- 
sons there, to revive a post, which since 1689 had been 


The letter of Governor La Jonquiere, to the French 
Colonial Minister, dated at Quebec, October 5, 1751, ex- 
plains the object of the grant, and is given in full: — 


1 See page 448. 


"My Lord: By my letter of the 24th of August last 
year, I had the honor to let you know, that in order to 
thwart the movements, that the English do not cease to 
make, in order to seduce the Indian natives of the north, 
I had sent the Sieur Chevalier de Repentigny to the Sault 
Ste. Marie, in order to make there an establishment, at 
his own expense; to build there a palisade fort, to stop the 
English; to interrupt the commerce they carry on; stop 
and prevent the continuation of the 'talk,' and of the pre- 
sents which the English send to those natives to corrupt 
them, to put them entirely in their interests, and inspire 
them with feelings of hate and aversion for the French. 

"Moreover, I had in view in that establishment to se- 
cure a retreat to the French travellers, especially to those 
who trade in the northern post r and for that purpose, to 
clear the lands which are proper for the production of In- 
dian corn there, and to subserve thereby the victualling 
necessary to the people of said post and even to the needs 
of the voyageurs. 

"The said Sieur de Repentigny has fulfilled in all points 
the first objects of my orders. As soon as he arrived at 
Missilimakinac, the chief of the Indians of the Sault Ste. 
Marie gave to him four strings of wampum, and begged of 
him to send them to me, to express how sensible they 
were for the attention I had for them, by sending the Sieur 
de Repentigny, whom they had already adopted as their 
nephew, which is a mark of distinction for an officer 
amongst the Indians, to signify to them my will in all 
cases to direct their steps and their actions. 

"I have given orders to said Sieur de Repentigny to 
answer at the 'talk' of that chief, by the same number of 
strings of wampum, and to assure him and his natives of 
the satisfaction I have at their good dispositions. 

repentigny's fort. 


repentigny's reception at sault ste. marie. 

"The Indians received him at the Sault Ste. Marie with 
much joy. He kindled my lire in that village, hy a neck- 
lace, which these Indians received with feelings of thank- 
fulness. He labored first to assure himself of the most 
suspected of the Indians. The Indian named Cacosagane 
told him in confidence, that there was a necklace in the 
village from the English: the said Sieur de Repentigny 
succeeded in withdrawing that necklace which had been 
in the village for five years, and which had been asked for 
in vain until now. This necklace was carried into all the 
Saulteur villages, and others at the south and the north of 
Lake Superior, to make all these nations enter into the 
conspiracy concerted between the English and the Five 
[Nations, after which it was brought and remains at Sault 
Ste. Marie. Fortunately for us this conspiracy was re- 
vealed and had not any consequence. . . . 

repentigny's fort. 

"He arrived too late last year at the Sault Ste. Marie to 
fortify himself well ; however he secured himself in a sort 
of fort large enough to receive the traders of Missilimak- 
inac. The weather was dreadful in September, October, 
and November. The snow fell one foot deep on the 10th 
of October, which caused him a great delay. He employed 
his hired men during the whole winter in cutting 1100 
pickets of 15 feet for his fort, with the doublings, and the 
timber necessary for the construction of three houses, one 
of them 30 feet long by 20 wide, and two others 25 feet 
long and the same width as the first. His fort is entirely 
finished with the exception of a redoubt of oak, which 
he is to have made 12 feet square, and which shall reach 
the same distance above the gate of the fort. His fort is 
110 feet square. 





"As for the cultivation of the lands: the Sieur de Re- 
pentigny had a bull, two bullocks, three cows, two heifers, 
one horse and a mare from Missilimakinac. He could not 
on his arrival make clearing of lands, for the work of his 
fort had entirely occupied his hired men. Last spring he 
cleared off the small trees and bushes within the range of 
the fort. He has engaged a Frenchman, who married at 
the Sault Ste. Marie an Indian woman, to take a farm ; they 
have cleared it up and sowed it, and without a frost, they 
will gather 30 to 35 sacks of corn. The said Sieur de Re- 
pentigny so much feels it his duty to devote himself to the 
cultivation of these lands, that he has already entered into 
a bargain for two slaves, 1 whom he will employ to take 
care of the corn that he will gather upon these lands." 


v In a letter to Governor Duquesne, the successor of Jon- 
quiere, the French minister for the colonies, wrote from 
Versailles on June 16, 1752 : " By one of my despatches, 
written last year to M. de la Jonquiere, I intimated to 
him that I had approved of the construction of a fort at 
Sault Ste. Marie, and the project of cultivating the land, 
and raising cattle there. We cannot but approve the dis- 
positions which have been made, but it must be considered 
that the cultivation of the lands, and the multiplication of 
cattle must be the principal object of it, and that trade 
must be only accessory to it. As it can hardly be expected 
that any other grain than corn will grow there, it is necessary, 

1 The slaves were Indians. In the Mackinaw parish register it is recorded 
that Louis Herbert, a child slave of Chevalier de Repentigny, was baptized. 
On July 13, 175S, at Mackinaw he stood as godfather for Mariame, a slave of 


repentigny's later services. 


at least for awhile, to stick to it, and not to persevere stubbornly 
in trying to raise icheat." 1 

Governor Duquesne, in a despatch to France, dated 
October 13, 1754, writes: " Chevalier de Repentigny, who 
commands at Sault Ste. Marie, is busily engaged with the 
settlement of his post, which is essential to stop the In- 
dians who come down from Lake Superior to go to Chego- 
neu [Oswego, 2s". Y.]." In the campaign of 1755, he served 
under Captain St. Pierre, in command of 600 Canadians, 
and was in the battle at the head of Lake George. In 1756, 
he formed a partnership with De Langy [Langlade], and 
another to continue the fur trade at Sault Ste. Marie, he 
to furnish the goods and receive a third of the profits. He 
brought from Mackinaw this year 700 Indians to aid the 
French. In 1758 he appears to have been again at Mack- 
inaw. 2 The next year he was with Montcalm at Quebec. 

He was assigned to guarding the pass at the Falls of 
Montmorency. One night four Ojibways sought the Eng- 
lish camp at Ange Gardienr and killed two men. On the 
26th of July, 1759, at dawn, Wolfe sent troops to dislodge 
him, and he retreated with the loss of twelve killed and 
wounded. In the spring of 1760, he was in the battle at 
Sillery three miles above Quebec and distinguished him- 
self. The Governor of Canada wrote: "Hepentigny was 
at the head of the centre, and with his brigade resisted the 
enemy's centre." " The only brigade before whom the 
enemy did not gain an inch of ground." In 1762 he was 
with troops in isew Foundland, and taken prisoner. In 
1764 he visited France, and from 1769 to 1778 was 
commandant at Isle of Rhe. From 1778 to 1782 was with 
the " Regiment d'Amerique" at Guadeloupe. In 1783 

1 Millions of bushels of wheat from the region west and north of Lake Su- 
perior pass every year in steamers and other vessels through the ship canal 
at Sault Ste. Marie. 

2 On July 13th he was present at the baptism of a child. 



was appointed Governor of Senegal, Africa. In October, 
1785, he visited Paris, on furlough, and there on the 9th 
of October, 1786, died. 



The French garrison at Niagara, under Chevalier Pou- 
chot, on July 25th, 1759, at seven in the morning, sur- 
rendered to the English, under Sir William Johnson. The 
latter in his journal, under date of the 30th of July, writes: 
"A Chippeway chief 1 came to me with Mr. Francis in 
order to speak to me." On the 23d of August, he again 
spoke to a Chippeway chief, Tequakareigh, and with a 
string and two belts of wampum welcomed him, and shook 
him by the hand. He then gave him a black belt and re- 
commended hunting and trading as far more profitable 
than quarrelling with the English, and invited him and 
all of the tribes in his vicinity to visit Niagara and Oswe- 
go, where they would find a large assortment of goods for 
their use. The chief assured him he would never again 
strike the English, and took from his neck a large French 
medal, and received an English One, and a gorget of silver. 

In September, 1761, Sir VVilliam Johnson was at Detroit, 
and on the 11th he writes, that he was visited by "about 
forty of the Chippawas who had just arrived, came to see 
me, and made a friendly speech, with a string of wampum, 
assuring me of their firm resolution of abiding with us, 

1 Waub-o-jeeg, or White Fisher, the grandfather of Henry R. Schoolcraft's 
first wife, who died at Chagouamigon (La Pointe), in 1793, is said to have re- 
ceived at Niagara a silver gorget from Sir William Johnson. 



and complying with everything proposed by me, and 
agreed to, by the rest. Gave them pipes, tobacco, and 
rum ; then they departed." 


On the 17th of the same month he made the following 
entry in his journal: "I counted out, and delivered to Mr. 
Croghan some silver works, viz., one hundred and fifty ear- 
bobs, two hundred brooches or breast-buckles, and ninety 
large crosses, all of silver, to send to Ensign Gorrel of the 
Royal Americans, posted at La Bay [Green Bay] on Lake 
Michigan, in order to purchase therewith some curious 
skins and furs for General Amherst and myself." 1 


The occupation of Mackinaw in 1761, by English soldiers, 
was neither agreeable to the French Canadian traders, nor 
to the Indians. The conspiracy of Pontiac extended from 
Lake Erie to Lake Superior, and on the 4th of June, the 
Ojibways under the leadership of Match-e-ke-wis, a bold 
young warrior, surprised the fort. 2 Etherington, the officer 
in command, on the 11th of June wrote to Lt. Gorrel of 
Royal Americans at Green Bay : "This place was taken by 

1 Silver ear-bobs and silver crosses were articles of trade, and as common at 
a frontier post as similar articles in gold, in the modern jewelry store. The 
wearing of the cross by a savage had as much significance, as when worn by a 
child of fashion. In the museum of the Minnesota Historical Society is a silver 
cross presented by W. J. Abernethy of Minneapolis, taken from a mound in 

In the diary of Matthew Clarkson, published in 4th vol. of Schoolcraft's Hist, 
and Stat. Condition of Indian Tribes, p. 297, is the following entry: " Account 
of silver truck Capt. Long left with me on the 2Sth of February, 1707, the day 
when he went from the Kaskaskias : 174 small crosses, 84 nose crosses, 33 
long drop-nose and ear-bobs, 120 small brooches, 38 large brooches, 40 rings, 
2 wide wrist-bands, narrow, scalloped wrist-bands, 3 narrow plain, 4 half- 
moon gorgets, 3 lar^e, 6 full moon, 9 hair-plates, 17 hair-bobs." 

1 For a notice of Match-e-ke-wis by Dr. L. C. Draper, see Wis. Bis. Soc. Col., 
vol. vii. p. 188. 



surprise on the fourth instant by the Chippewas at which 
time Lieut. Jamett, and twenty more were killed, and 
the rest taken prisoners, but our good friends, the Ottowas, 
have taken Lieut. Lesley, me, and eleven men off their 
hands, and have promised to reinstate us again. You will, 
therefore, on the receipt of this, which I send by a canoe 
of Ottawas, set out with all your garrison and what Eng- 
lish traders you have with you, and come, with the In- 
dians who give you this, who will conduct you safe to me. 
. . . . Tell the savages that you are obliged to come 
here, to open the road which the Chippewas have shut 
up," etc. 

At the time Mackinaw was surprised, the siege of De- 
troit by Pontiac was taking place. Among his men was 
a band of Saginaw Ojibways. On the 18th of June, eight 
Ojibways came from Mackinaw, one of whom was Xon- 
chanek or Kinonchanek, the son of the head chief, bring- 
ing news of the capture at Mackinaw; he remained but a 
few days, and after his departure it was rumored that he 
would soon return with eight hundred warriors. Kinon- 
chanek, however, did not approve of the course of Pontiac, 
in slaughtering so many. 


It was now necessary for the English to assert their 
power in the northwest, and conciliate the tribes. During 
the spring of 1764, Match-e-ke-wis, the leader of the as- 
sault on Mackinaw, came to the house of J. B. Cadot, 1 the 
Canadian trader at Sault Ste. Marie, in a canoe full of war- 
riors, with evil intent towards Alexander Henry, an Eng- 
lish trader, who was at the house on a visit, but while 
there a messenger, and some other Indians, arrived with a 
request that the} r should meet Sir William Johnson, Super- 
intendent of Indian Affairs, in council at Xiagara. A coun- 

1 Stone's Life, oj Johnson, vol. il. p. 218. 


cil was called, and the head messenger with a belt of wam- 
pum said: " My friends and brothers! I am come with 
this belt, from our great Father, Sir William Johnson. 
He desired me to come to you, as his ambassador, and tell 
you that he is making a great feast, in common with your 
friends, the Six jSTations, who have all made peace with 
the English. He advises you to seize this opportunity of 
doing the same, as you cannot otherwise fail of being de- 
stroyed ; for the English are on their march, with a great 
army, which will be joined by different nations of Indians. 
In a word, before the fall of the leaf, they will be at 
Michillimackinac, and the Six Nations with them." 

After a great medicine dance, the sacred men had, as 
they alleged, a communication from the Great Turtle, one 
of their mightiest spirits, who said that, " Sir William 
Johnson would fill their canoes with presents; with 
blankets, kettles, guns, gunpowder, and shot, and large 
barrels of rum, such as the stoutest of the Indians would 
not be able to lift ; and that every man would return in 
safety to his family." 

On the 10th of June, 1764, a deputation left Sault Ste. 
Marie, accompanied by the trader Alexander Henry, and 
by way of Lake Simcoe and Toronto, reached Xiagara and 
attended the grand council. On the 6th of August, Henry 
and his Ojibway companions, accompanied General Brad- 
street's army on the way to Detroit. At this point Brad- 
street, on the 7th of September, made a treaty with the 
Ojibway s and some other tribes. The principal speaker of 
the Indians was Wasson, an Ojibway chief, who said to 
Bradstreet, " My brother, last year God forsook us. God 
has now opened our eyes, and we desire to be heard. It is 
God's will, our hearts are altered. It was God's will you 
had such fine weather to come to us. It is God's will also 
there should be peace, and tranquillity, over the face of 
the earth, and the waters." 





After this, Captain Howard with a strong detachment 
was sent to reoccupy Mackinaw, 1 and English soldiers 
were once more seen at Green Pay and Sault Ste. Marie. 


Major Robert Rogers was appointed commandant at 
Mackinaw, not long after the suppression of the Pontiac 
conspiracy. The son of an Irishman who had settled in 
New Hamphshire, hold, cunning, unscrupulous, and unedu- 
cated, yet bright and quick, he had entered the provincial 
service, in 1755, and as captain of a company of scouts, or 
rangers, had rendered efficient service, in the war against 
the French, in Canada. In 1760, he left Montreal w^ith 
troops to take possession of Detroit and other posts, in the 
name of the King of Great Britain. After the defeat of 
Pontiac, he applied for the command, at Mackinaw, which 
was reluctantly granted in 1766, and General Gage wrote 
to Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
to be careful not to place large sums of money in his 

Soon after his arrival, he began to hold secret meetings 
with the Indians, to obtain therefrom grants of land. He 
also sent agents to. trade with distant tribes, one of whom 
was Jonathan Carver, who visited the Sioux. In the 
spring of 1767, Xathaniel Potter, who had been two years 
at Mackinaw, was sent to trade, and confer with the Ojib- 
ways of Lake Superior. Upon his return therefrom, 
Rogers disclosed to him a plan he had devised to make 
the region around the lakes a separate province, with him- 
self the Governor, and washed Potter to go to England in 

1 The post was on the mainland, and it was not until the spring of 1780, that 
General Haldimand, in command at Quebec, issued an order for the removal 
of the post to the island. 


the interest of the project. He also said if he could not 
carry out his plan, he would retire among the French and 
Spanish on the Mississippi. The scheme was something 
like that of Aaron Burr at a later period, and Potter con- 
sidering it treasonable, declined to have any connection 
with it, and reported the matter to the authorities at Mon- 

On the 11th of September, 1767, Sir "William Johnson 
wrote to General Gao-e as follows : " Though I wrote to 
you, a few days ago, by Mr. Croghan, I could not avoid 
saying something again on the score of the vast expenses 
incurred, and still incurring at Michillimackinac, chiefly on 
pretence of making a peace between the Sioux and Chip- 
peweighs." On xiugust 17th, 1768, he writes to the Earl 
of Hillsborough : " Major Rogers brings a considerable 
charge against the Crown for mediating a peace between 
some tribes of Sioux and some Chippe weighs, which, had 
it been attended with success, w r ould have been only inte- 
resting to a very few French, and others that had goods in 
that part of the Indian country." 

During this year, Eogers was placed under arrest, sent 
to Montreal, and tried by court martial, on charges of 
treason, for having proposed to deliver the post of Mack- 
inaw to the Spaniards of Louisiana. 1 

1 In 1769, Rogers went to England and was imprisoned for debt. Afterwards 
he entered the service of the Dey of Algiers. In 1775, he was again in Eng- 
land, and in June, left Gravesend in a ship for Baltimore. In September, he 
was in Philadelphia, where he was arrested by the Committee of Safety, but 
was released on the 23d of the month, by giving his parol that he would not 
bear arms against the " American United Colonies." He then went to New 
York City, and from thence visited his brother near Albany, Col. James Rogers. 
President Wheelock, of Dartmouth College, received a visit from him on the 
13th of November. He told him that he had fought two battles in Algiers ; 
and that he had come back to America to look after some large land grant 
made to him; that he was now on his way to visit his sister at Moorestown, 
and his wife at Merrimack River, whom he had not seen since he returned. He 
left the tavern where he stayed, the next day, without paying his bill of three 
shillings. On the 11th of December he was at Porter's tavern in Medford, 




In the year 1768, Waub-o-jeeg visited Sir William 
Johnson at Johnson Hall, near Johnstown, Xew York, who 
alludes to it in a letter in these words: "Since I wrote the 
chief of the Chippewaes, one of the most powerful nations, 
to the westward, arrived. As he is a man of much influ- 
ence, and can bring some thousands into the field, I took 

Mass., and wrote a letter to General Washington asking for a pass to go unmo- 
lested, and in it used this language : " I love North America, it is my native 
country, and that of my family, and I intend to spend the evening of my days 
in it." At this time he was in secret correspondence with Howe, the British 
General. By order of Washington, General Sullivan called upon him. He 
told Sullivan that he went from New York City to Stone Arabia, N. Y., where 
he tarried ten days, that then he went to Kent to visit a brother. After call- 
ing upon the President of Dartmouth College, he alleged that he visited his 
father at Pennieook, and from thence to Newburgh and Portsmouth. General 
Sullivan reported after examination : " I would advise, lest some blame might 
be laid upon your Excellency, in future, not to give him any other permit, 
but let him avail himself of those he has ; and should he prove a traitor, let 
the blame rest upon* those who enlarged him." After this, he returned to 
Philadelphia, and was there at the time of the Declaration of Independence, 
but his actions were so suspicious that he was ordered to be arrested. He 
managed to escape, and in a letter from General Howe on Staten Island to 
Lord George Germaine, dated August 6, 1776, are these words : " Major Rogers 
having escaped to us from Philadelphia, is empowered to raise a battalion of 
rangers, which I hope may be useful in the course of the campaign." With 
the Queen's American Rangers, of which corps he was Lt. Colonel, he destroyed 
much property in West Chester Co., N. Y., and annoyed the inhabitants. 

In his journal under date of October 21, 1776, writes : " Lord Stirling, who 
was before in this vicinity with his brigade, had formed an enterprise against 
Major Robert Rogers' corps. The old Indian hunter, in the last French war, 
who had now engaged in the British service with his corps, lay on the outpost 
of the British army, near Marroneck. The enterprise was conducted with 
good address, and if the Americans had known exactly how Rogers' corps lay 
they would probably have killed, or taken the whole. As it was, thirty-six 
prisoners, sixty muskets, and some other articles were taken. The Major con- 
formably to his former general conduct, escaped with the rest of the corps." 
The American troops were under the command of Colonel Haslet of Delaware 
and chiefly from Maryland and Virginia. Haslet wrote: " The party we fell 
In with was Colonel Rogers', the late worthless Major. On the first fire, he 
6kulked off in the dark." 

The next year Rogers returned to England, and soon died. 


particular notice of him, formerly at [Niagara ; since which 
he has behaved well, and now came to be informed of my 
sentiments on the uneasy state of the Indians to the west- 
ward. He told me his people would quietly wait his re- 
turn, before they took any resolutions ; confirming all the 
accounts I have received of the practices of the Spaniards 
and French." 


After the English reoccupation, Henry formed a part- 
nership for trade and furs with his friend Cadot, and he 
determined in 1765 to establish a post at Chagouamigon 
Bay. He found the Ojibways there dressed in deer skins, 
because in consequence of the French and English war 
they had not received goods of European manufacture. 
He built his house within the bay, which by the loth of 
December was frozen. On the 20th of April, 1766, the ice 
broke up, and several canoes arrived with the news that 
the Ojibways had gone to war. On the 15th of May, a 
part of the warriors had arrived in forty canoes, who said 
that four days' travel from that point, four hundred strong, 
they had met six hundred Sioux, and battled all day, 
when the latter fell back across the river, and camped for 
the night, and the next day retreated. At this time 
AVaubojeeg. was the chief at Chagouamigon, and the battle 
may have been that which tradition asserts took place in 
the valley of the Saint Croix Eiver. Henry writes that 
the Ojibways lost thirty-five men. Some one told the 
United States Commissioner McKenney that Shingaba 
Wossin, of Sault Ste. Marie, was in the great St. Croix 
fight. At the time McKenney visited the country in 1826, 
this chief was supposed to be sixty -three years old. If the 
battle of the spring of 1766, alluded to by Henry, was the 
great St. Croix conflict, the chief would have been at the 
time but three years of age. 



In June, 1775, Henry left Sault Ste. Marie for the chain 
of lakes west of Lake Superior, and on the first of August 
reached the Lake of the Woods, and on the west side 
found an old French post around which the Ojibways had 
lived until they were driven off by the Sioux. 


On the 5th of August, 1775, at Rat Portage, some of the 
Ojibways asked for rum, but Henry refused, because they 
were of the band of Pilleurs. This is the first mention of 
the now called Pillagers. 

Count Andreani, of Milan, was at Chagouamigon in 
1791, and made some scientific observations. 


He came with the approbation of the British govern- 
ment, and continued his journey to the Grand Portage, 
then the depot of the ^Northwest Company. In his journal, 
a portion of which is in the Travels of La Rochefoucauld 
Liancourt, is the following table of the amount of furs at 
that time annually collected at different points on the 

shores of Lake Superior : — 

Bay of Guivinau [Keweenaw] Bundles 15 

La Pointe " 20 

Fond du Lac " 20 

£Tear the Grand Portage " 1400 

Alampicon ps~epigon] " 24 

Pic " 30 

Michipicoton " 40 

Each bundle was valued at forty pounds sterling. 

john Johnston's first visit to la pointe. 

When John Johnston, an educated young man from the 
north of Ireland, visited the western extremity of Lake 
Superior, about the year 1791, he found a Chippeway vil- 



lage on the main land near the site of Bayfield, and for se- 
curity, as the old French traders had done, pitched his 
tent upon the island now called La Pointe and Madeline, 
and opened trade with the Ojibways. Michael Cadotte 
came in the country about the same time, if not as one of 
his voyageurs, and settled on the island. 


In 1793, Waub-o-jeeg ("White Fisher), the great Ojibway 
chief, died at an. advanced age. MeKenney writes con- 
cerning him i 1 " We made our voyage of Lake Superior 
in 1826. So late as that, the name of Waub-o-jeeg was 
never spoken but in connection with some tradition ex- 
emplifying his great powers as chief and warrior. He was, 
like Pontiac and Tecumthe, exceedingly jealous of the 
white man. This jealousy was manifested when the hand 
of his daughter, O-shaw-ous-go-day-way-gua, was solicited 
by Mr. Johnston, the accomplished Irish gentleman who 
resided so many years at the Sault de St. Marie, and who 
was not better known for his intelligence and polished man- 
ners than for his hospitality. He lived long enough to 
merit and receive the appellation of Patriarch of the Sault. 
In the course of his travels he arrived at Montreal, when 
he determined to ascend the great chain of lakes to the 
headwaters of Lake Superior. On arriving at Michael's 
Island, 2 he h?ard of Waub-o-jeeg, whose village lay across 
the strait which divides the island from the main land. He 
made him a visit. Being well received, he remained some 
time, formed an attachment to his daughter, and solicited 
permission to marry her. Waub-o-jeeg replied: 'White 
Man, I have noticed your behavior ; it has been correct ; 

1 History of Indian Tribes, Philadelphia, 1854, vol. i. pp. 151, loo. 

* On Franquelin's Map, 10S8, the island commonly called La Pointe, and on 
some modern maps Madeline, was marked as St. Michael, and this name was 
retained until the present century. 



but, White Man, your color is deceitful. Of you, may I ex- 
pect better things ? You say you are going to Montreal ; 
go, and if you return I shall be satisfied of your sincerity, 
and will give you my daughter. 7 Mr. Johnston returned, 
when the chief fulfilled his promise. 1 The amiable, excel- 
lent, and accomplished wife of Mr. Schoolcraft, so favorably 
known as a tourist and mineralogist, and a family of inter- 
esting children, are the fruits of this marriage." 


J. B. Cadot (Cado), now written Cadotte, was a plain 
Canadian voyageur, who had been employed by Repen- 
tigny, and in accordance with custom lived with an Ojib- 
way woman. In 1756, he brought her to Mackinaw, and 
was legally married by the Jesuit Le Franc. The following 
is a translation from the parish register still preserved 
at Mackinaw: " I, the undersigned, missionary priest 
of the Society of Jesus, acting as rector, have received the 
mutual assent of Jean Baptiste Cadot, and of Anastasia, 
a neophyte, daughter of islpissing, according to the rites 
of the Holy Roman Church, by which marriage has been 
legitimatized, Marie Renee, their daughter, about two and 
a half months old, in the presence of the undersigned 
witnesses and others, on the 28th of October, 1756, at 

Beside the signature of the priest, are the names Lang- 
lade, Bourassa, R. de Couange fils, Rene Lacombe. A 
daughter, Charlotte, on May 22, 1760, was baptized. Jona- 
than. Carver in his u Travels" w T rites : a The beginning of 
October [1767], after having coasted around the north and 

1 Mr. John Johnston died Sept. 22, 1528, acred 66, at Sault Ste. Marie, much 
respected. Soon after, his widow became a communicant in the Presbyterian 
Church, and in the fall of 1S32 completed at her expense a house of worship 
for this branch of the church, at Sault Ste. Marie. 



east borders of Lake Superior, I arrived at Cadot's Fort 
which adjoins to the Falls of St. Marie, and is situated near 
the southwest corner of it." In another place : " At the 
upper end of these straits stands a fort that receives its 
name from them, commanded by Mons. Cadot, a French 
Canadian, who being proprietor of the soil, is still permitted 
to keep possession of it." In the year 1767, Cadot was 
again married to Marie Mouet, supposed by Tasse to have 
been the mother of Charles Langlade. 

During the absence of Cadot, in 1768, Abbe Guilbault, 
Vicar General of Louisiana, visited Mackinaw, and on the 
28th of July baptized his son Joseph Marie, born in Octo- 
ber, 1767, J. Baptiste Chaboillez acting as godfather, and 
Marie Anne Antoine Viger, wife of Sieur Antoine Beau- 
vais, acting as godmother. He had two other sons, J. 
Baptiste and Michel. Among his fellow traders at Sault 
Ste. Marie, in 1796, were George Kittson and John Reid. 
In May, 1796, owing to the infirmities of age, he gave his 
property to his two sons, Jean Baptiste and Michel, on con- 
dition that they would provide for his wants. He lived 
seven years after this assignment. In the treaty of 1826,. 
at Fond du Lac, Superior, mention is made of Michael 
Cadotte, Senior, son of Equawaice and his wife Equaysay- 
way ; also/ of Michael Cadotte, Junior, and his wife Oss- 

J. B., the son, had a trading post in 1797 at Fond, du 
Lac, on the St. Louis River, and the next year a post in 
the Red River Yalley, near the 48th parallel of north lati- 
tude, and traded in this region for several years. His 
widow Saugemauqua was living in 1826, and four children, 
Louison, Sophia, Archangel, Edward, and Polly. 

His brother Michel, born A. D. 1765, had an Indian 
wife Equaysayway, and lived until the 8th of July, 1837. 
He was buried on Madeline Island (La Pointe), Lake Supe- 



rior. Truman A. Warren married his daughter Charlotte, 
and his brother Lyman M. Warren married another 
daughter, Mary. 1 


At the time that the French retired, the Chippewa River 
was the road of war between the Sioux and Ojibways. 
Toward the sources of this river, at the lakes, once occupied 
by the refugee Hurons and Ottawas, the Ojibways had ad- 
vanced from Lake Superior and established villages. 

Before the close of the " War of the Revolution," in 
1783, the Ojibways were occupying Saucly, Leech, and Red 
Lake, and Kay, Harris, Default, Perrault, and others had 
trading posts in northern Minnesota ; and there was not 
left a Sioux village above the Falls of St. Anthony, and 
east of the Mississippi River. 


Until the close of the last century the source of the 
Mississippi was supposed to be farther north than the 
Lake of the Woods. The Xorthwest Company of Montreal, 
desiring a knowledge of the region west of Lake Superior, 
employed David Thompson, who had been educated in the 
Blue Coat School, London, 2 as geographer and astronomer. 
He was instructed to go as far as the Missouri River, and 
search for anything that would throw light upon the 
former and present condition of the country. In company 
with Hugh McGillis he left Grand Portage of Lake Supe- 
rior on the 9th of August, 1796, equipped with an excel- 
lent achromatic telescope, a sextant of ten inches radius 

1 For the facts relative to Cadot, American State Papers, Land Claims, vol. 
v., Kelton's Annals of Mackinaw, and Tasse's Canadians of the West have been 

2 A notice of Thompson may be found in XeilVs History of Minnesota, oth 
edition, 1883, p. 866. 


and other instruments made by the accurate Dolland. 
After visiting the various trading posts of the Northwest 
Company, north of the 49th degree of latitude, he proceeded 
to the Mandan villages on the Missouri, and returned byway 
of the Assineboine to the Red River of the Xorth which 
on the 7th of March, 1798, he reached. On the 14th he 
ascended the stream to the trading post in charge of Charles 
Chabotiillier, and found it to be one minute and thirty 
seconds south of the 49th parallel of north latitude, and 
consequently within the territory of the United States. 

The number of Ojibways who traded at this post was 
ninety-five, and on the basis of one man to a family of 
seven souls the whole population of the upper Red River 
Valley was 665, and at the Rainy River post 60 traded, 
representing a population of 420. On the 27th of March, 
he arrived at the Northwestern Company's post on the 
Red River in latitude 47° 54' 21" in charge of J. Baptiste 
Cadotte. From thence by way of Clear Water River he 
reached a portage to Red Lake River. 


Ascending this stream for thirty-two miles, about the 
loth of April he reached Red Lake, where he found only 
the old Ojibway chief She-she-she-pus-kut, and six lodges 
of Indians. On the 23d, he was at Turtle Lake, and on 
the 27th, found the most northern sources of the Mississippi 
River. From Turtle Lake he went to Red Cedar Lake, 
where there was a post of the Xorthwest Company, under 
one of its partners, John Sayer. Here 60 heads of families 
traded, and 420 was the estimated population of the 
vicinity. On the 6th of May he arrived at Sandy Lake, 
where the post was in charge of Mr. Bruske*. Twenty 
heads of families brought their furs here, and about 294 
was the whole population. From this point he proceeded 
to Lake Superior, and near the mouth of the St. Louis 



River stopped at the trading post in charge of M. Lemoine, 
and here about 225 was the number of the Ojibway popu- 
lation. While at Sandy Lake, he was informed that on 
the 19th of February, at a point a half day's journey dis- 
tant, the Ojibways had lost forty persons in a fight with 
a party of Sioux, Sauks, and Menomonees. 


After the " Northwest Company" of traders was organ- 
ized, the Ojibways hunted for beaver west of Lake Supe- 
rior with a firmer foot. Under the auspices of this com- 
pany, Peter Grant established the first post on the east side 
of the Red River of the Korth, opposite the mouth of the 
Pembina River, and in 1797-98 another post was estab- 
lished on Pembina River near its mouth, by Charles Cha- 
bouillier. Until this period, the horse had never been 
used, and the voyageurs after this invented the peculiar 
Red River cart. 

Alexander Henry, a nephew of the trader, who had a 
post in Chagouamigon Bay of Lake Superior, who was a 
partner of the Northwest Company, on the 18th of August, 
1800, arrived at the junction of the Reel River of the iiTorth 
and Assineboine rivers, and writes in his journal: "I found 
about forty Saulteurs [Ojibways] waiting my arrival." 

In September, Henry built a trading post in the Red 
River Valley, within a short distance of Little Park River. 


On the 2d of January, 1801, Beardash the son of Sucre, 
the Ojibway chief, visited him, and he is thus described in 
his journal : " This person is a curious compound. He is 
a man in every respect, both as to carriage, dress, and 
' manners. His walk and mode of sitting down ; his man- 
ners and occupations, and language are those of a woman. 
All the persuasiveness of his father, who is a great chief 



among the Saulteaux [Ojibways], cannot induce him to be- 
have like a man. About a month ago, in a drinking 
match, he got into a quarrel, and had one of his eyes 
knocked out with a club. He is very fleet, and a few years 
ago was reckoned the best runner anions: the Saulteaux. 
Both his fleetness and courage were fully put to the test 
on the banks of the Chain [Cheyenne], when Monsieur 
lieaume attempted to make peace. He accompanied a 
party of Saulteaux to the Scieux camp. They at first ap- 
peared reconciled to each other through the intercession of 
the white people, but on the return of the, Saulteaux, the 
Scieux pursued them. Both parties were on foot, and the 
Scieux had the name of being very swift. The Saulteaux 
very imprudently dispersed themselves in the open plains, 
and several of them were killed, but the party in which 
Beardash was, all escaped in the following manner. 


" One of them had a bow wliich he got from the Scieux, 
but only a few arrows. On their first starting, and finding 
they were pursued, they ran a considerable distance, until 
they perceived the Scieux were gaining fast, when Bear- 
dash took the bow and arrows from his comrades, and 
told them to run as fast as possible, and not to mind him, 
as he apprehended no danger. He then stopped, and 
turned about, and faced the enemy, and began to let fly his 
arrows. This checked their course, and they returned the 
compliment, with interest, but he says it was nothing but 
long shot, and only a chance arrow could have hurt him. 
They had nearly lost their strength when they drew near 
him. His own stock was soon expended, but he lost no 
time in gathering up those of the enemy, which fell near 
him. Seeing his friends at some distance ahead, and the 
Scieux moving to surround him, he turned about, and ran 
away to join his comrades, the Scieux running after him. 



Beardash again stopped, faced them, and with his bow 
and arrows kept them at bay, until his friends got away a 
considerable distance, when he again ran off to join them. 
Thus he did continue to manoeuvre, until a spot of strong 
woods was reached, and the Scieux did no longer follow." 

On the 15th of September, 1801, Henry arrived at his 
post on Pembina River near its junction with the Red 
River, from his annual trip to the Grand Portage of Lake 
Superior, and here he found sixty Saulteaux camped, 
anxiously waiting to taste some new milk, as rum was 
called, and the 'next month the chief Le Sucre, and ten 
other Ojibways from Leech Lake arrived. In January, 
1804, Cameron, Cotton, Hesse, and Stitt were trading with 
the Red Lake Ojibways. 


On the 3d of July, 1805, the Sioux attacked a band of 
Ojibways at Tongue River, a few miles from the Pembina 
trading post. Henry writes in his journal : " Fourteen 
persons, men, women, and children, were killed or taken 
prisoners. My beau-pere was the first man that fell. 
He had climbed up a tree to look out if the buffalo were 
near, about 8 o'clock in the morning. He had no sooner 
reached the top of the tree when the two Sioux who lay 
near, discharged their guns, and the balls passed through 
his body. He had only time to call out to his family, who 
were in the tent about one hundred paces from him, ' Save 
yourselves, the Sioux are killing us,' and fell dead. 

" The noise brought the Indians out of their tents, and 
perceiving their danger, ran through the open plains, to- 
ward an open island or wood, in Tongue River, about a 
mile distant. They had not gone more than a fourth of a 
inile when they saw the main party on horseback, crossing 
the Tongue River, and in a few moments they began to 
fire. The four men, by their expert manoeuvres and in- 


cessant fire kept them in awe, until they were two hun- 
dred paces from the woods, when the enemy perceiving 
their prey ready to escape, surrounded and rushed upon 
them. Three of the Saulteaux [Ojihways] fled in a differ- 
ent direction, and one escaped, but the other two were 

" He that remained to protect the women and children 
was a brave fellow, Anguemance, or Little Chief. "When 
the enemy was rushing upon them, he waited very delib- 
erately, when he aimed at one coming full speed and 
knocked him from his horse. Three young girls and one 
boy were taken prisoners, and the rest were all murdered 
and cut up in the most horrible manner. Several women 
and children had made their escape to the woods. The 
enemy chased them, but the willows were so thick, they 
were saved. A boy of about twelve years of age, says, that 
a Scieux being in pursuit of him, he crossed into a low 
hidden place, and the horseman leaped over, without per- 
ceiving him. One of the little girls tells a pitiful story. 
She says that her mother having two children who could 
not walk fast enough, had taken one upon her back, and 
prevailed upon her sister to carry the other, but when 
they got near the woods, the enemy rushing upon them 
and yelling, the young woman was so frightened that she 
threw down the child and soon overtook the mother, who, 
observing that the child was missing, and hearing it 
screaming, kissed the little daughter who tells the story, 
and said: 'As for me, I will return for your youngest sis- 
ter, and rescue her or die in the attempt; take courage, and 
run fast, my daughter !' 

"Poor woman! she rescued the child, and was running 
off, when she was arrested by a blow from a war-club. She 
fell tp the ground, but drew her knife and plunged it into 
the neck of her murderer ; others coming up, she was soon 
despatched. Thus my belle-mere ended her days. The 



survivors having reached the fort, my people went out the 
next day to the field. A horrid spectacle ! My beau-pere 
had his head severed from his body even with the shoulders, 
his right arm cut off, his left foot, also his right leg from 
the knee stripped of the skin. The bodies of the women 
and children all lay within a few yards of each other. An- 
guemance lay near his wife. The enemy had raised his 
scalp, cut the flesh from the bone, and broke away the 
skull to make a water dish. Only the trunk remained, 
with the belly and breast ripped up and thrown over the 
face. His wife was also cut up and butchered in a shock- 
ing manner, and her young children cut up and thrown 
about in different directions. All the bodies were covered 
with arrows sticking in them, many old knives, two or 
three broken guns, and some war-clubs." 1 


In the spring of 1805, a trader named Hughes was killed 
at Red Lake by an Ojibway. Henry, under date of 28th 
of May, writes in his journal : " Le Grande Xoir arrived 
from Red Lake, and his son-in-law, who last spring, at Red 
Lake, killed an American, by the name of Hughes. The 
deceased standing by the door, and observing the Indian 
with a gun, caught a tent-pin, and gave him a blow on the 
head. The Indian only staggered a few paces, and recov- 
ering himself fired his gun and killed Hughes." 

1 Other extracts from MS. Journals of Henry, may be found in tfetiV* His- 
tory of Minnesota, 5th edition, 18S3, pp. S70-S90. 





Lt. Z. M. Pike of the United States Army landed on the 
island, at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi 
rivers, on the 21st of September, 1805, and found that all 
the young warriors of the two Sioux villages in the vicinity 
had marched against the Ojibways to take revenge for an 
attack that had been made upon them in that vicinity, by 
which ten of their tribe had been killed. On Monday the 
23d, he held a council with the Sioux, who agreed to 
make peace with their old foes. 


On the 16th of February, 1806, as the first representa- 
tive of the United States who had visited them, he held a 
council with the Ojibways at Leech Lake, and in his 
opening speech said : " I was chosen to ascend the Missis- 
sippi to bear to his red children the words of their father, 
and the Great Spirit has opened the eyes and ears of all 
the nations to listen to my words. The Sauks and Rey- 
nards are planting corn and raising cattle. The Winneba- 
goes continue peaceable as usual, and even the Sioux have 
laid by the hatchet at my request. Yes, my brothers, 
the Sioux who have so lon^ and obstinately warred against 

CD v O 

the Chippeways, have agreed to lay by the hatchet, smoke 
the calumet, and again become your brothers. Brothers ! 
you behold the pipe of Wabasha as a proof of what I say. 
The Little Corbeau, Fils de Pinchon, and L'Aile Rouge, 
had marched two hundred and fifty warriors to revenge 
the blood of their women and children, slain last year at 
the St. Peters. I sent a runner after them, stopped their 
march, and met them in council at the mouth of the St. 



Peters, where they promised to remain peaceable until my 
return ; and if the Ouchipawah chiefs accompanied me, to 
receive them as brothers, and accompany us to St. Louis, 
there to bury the hatchet, and smoke the pipe in the pre- 
sence of our great war-chief ; and to request him to punish 

those who first broke the peace Brothers ! I 

understand that one of your young men killed an American 
at Eed Lake last year, but that the murderer is far off; 
let him keep so ; send him where we may never hear of 
him more, for were he here I would be obliged to demand 
him of you, and make my young men shoot him," etc. etc. 

Wiscoup, Le Sucre, or Old Sweet of Red Lake, who told 
Lieutenant Pike that he was a young man when the Sioux 
were driven from Leech Lake, was the first to reply. He 
spoke as follows : " My father ! I have heard and under- 
stood the words of our great father. It overjoys me to see 
you make peace among us. I should have accompanied 
you had my family been present, and would have gone to 
see their father, the great war-chief. 

"The medal I hold in my hand I received from the Eng- 
lish chiefs. I willing!} 7 deliver it up to you. Wabasha's 
calumet with which I am presented, I receive with all my 
heart. Be assured that I will use my best endeavors to 
keep my young men quiet. There is my calumet, I send it 
to my father the great war-chief. What does it signify 
that I should go to see him ? 

" My father ! you will meet the Sioux on your return. 
You may make them smoke in my pipe, and tell them that 
I have let fall my hatchet. 

" My father ! tell the Sioux on the upper part of the St. 
Peters River, that they mark trees with the figure of a 
calumet, that we of Red Lake who go that way, should we 
see them, may make peace with them, being assured of 
their pacific disposition, when we shall see the calumet 
marked on the trees." 


Obigouitte and Aish-ke-bng-e-koshe, 1 Guelle Plat (as 
called by the French), Flat Mouth (by the English), spoke 
to the same effect, and it was arranged that Beau, a brother 
of Flat Mouth, and a chief called the Buck, should go with 
Lieutenant Pike as deputies to Saint Louis. 

In 1806, the country east of the Mississippi between Red 
River and the Crow Wing w T as in dispute between the 
Sioux and Ojibways, and the Ojibways claimed- west of the 
Mississippi, north of the Crow Wing River. 

Pike, in his published work, 2 in an appendix, gives the 
following census of the Ojibways of the Saint Croix and 

Place. Men. Women. Children. Total. 

Sandy Lake 45 79 224 348 

Chief, Catawabata (De Breche or Broken Tooth). 

Leech Lake 150 280 690 1120 

Chiefs, Eskibugekoge (Guelle Plat or Flat Mouth), 
Obigouitte (Ch de la Terre, or of the Land), Oole (La 
Brule or the Burnt). 

Red Lake 150 260 610 1020 

Chief, Wiscoup (Le Sucre or the Sweet). 

St. Croix and Miss. 104 165 420 689 


The President of the United States by the order of Con- 
gress on June 19, 1812, declared war against Great Britain. 
The United States military post on Mackinaw T Island was 
then in command of Porter Hanks, a lieutenant of artillery. 

1 In this article the spelling of the treaty of 1855 is used. 
* Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi, by Major Z. M. Pike, Philadel- 
phia, 1810. 



About dawn of the morning of the 17th of July, a flotilla 
from St. Joseph's Island at the mouth of the Ste. Marie 
River, consisting of a brig of the Northwest Company, ten 
batteau, and seventy canoes, arrived at Mackinaw Island 
with British forces. At ten in the morning, a piece of 
artillery was in a position on a height commanding the 
American garrison. 1 Lieutenant Hanks was greatly sur- 
prised, as he had not received official notice of the declara- 
tion of war. His entire force was only 61 persons, and he 
was obliged to surrender. 2 The British troops were com- 
posed of 40 regulars, 260 Canadians, and 432 Indians. 
Capt. Charles Roberts was in command of the whole, and 
Robert Dickson was at the head of the Sioux, Folle Avoine, 
and Winnebago Indians, and John Askin was the leader 
of the Ojibways and Ottawas. Askin, in his report, 3 ex- 
pressed his indebtedness to his subordinates, Michel Ca- 
dotte, Jr., Charles Longlade, and Augustin Nolin. He 
wrote to his superior officer: "I firmly believe not a soul 
of them would have been saved," if the Americans had 
fired a gun, and also, 44 1 never saw so determined a set of 
people as the Chippeways and Attawas." Among the 
British traders, in this expedition, were Crawford, John 
Johnson, Pothier, Armatinger, La Croix, Franks, and Ro- 


The Scorpion, under command of Lieut. D. Turner of the 
United States ^N~avy, during the last week of July, 1814, 
landed at Sault Ste. Marie a detachment of infantry under 

1 Report of Hanks, Files'g Register, vol. ii. 

2 Report of Captain Roberts in the appendix to James's Naval Occurrences of 
the Late War mentions that the Mackinaw garrison consisted of 2 first lieu- 
tenants, 1 surgeon's mate, 3 sergeants, 4 corporals, 5 musicians, 6 artificers, 39 
privates, total 61. 

3 Report of Askin in Xiles's Register, vol. ii. 



the command of Major Holmes of the army. The agent of 
the Northwest Company who had borne arms against the 
United States escaped, and the troops burned the trading 
post of the company, and the huts of those traders who 
were disloyal. An attempt was also made to bring out of 
Lake Superior a schooner, called the Perseverance, of one 
hundred tons, and used to carry goods to Fort William, 
but in dragging it through the rapids it bilged, and Lieut. 
Turner ordered it to be burned. On the 4th of August, 
Holmes was killed while leading an attack upon the 
British troops at Mackinaw. The Tigress, an American 
gunboat, in command of sailing-master Champlin, 1 near 
the mouth of St. Mary's River, was soon after captured by 
some British sailors under Lieut. Bulger, boarding in the 
night, assisted by Indians under Dickson. 


Toward the close of the year 1818, a fight took place 
between the Sioux and Ojibways in the country between 
the headwaters of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. A 
Yankton chief, called by the French Le Grand, held a 
council with some Ojibways and smoked the pipe of peace. 
When the latter were returning home, some of the Sioux 
sneaked after them, scalped a few, and took a woman 
prisoner. When the intelligence reached Leech Lake, 
thirteen young warriors started for the Sioux country to 
avenge the insult. For four weeks they travelled with- 
out meeting any of their enemies, but at length on the 
Pomme de Terre River, on a very foggy morning they 
thought a buffalo herd was in sight, but on nearerttpproach. 
it proved to be a Sioux camp, and some of the latter on 
horseback gave the alarm. The Ojibways finding that 
they were discovered, and that their foes were numerous, 

1 His son was the late Raymond Champlin, of St. Paul. 



sent one of their number to their home east of the Missis- 
sippi to announce their probable death. 1 The twelve who 
remained now began to dig holes in the ground, and pre- 
pare for the conflict from which they could not hope to 
escape. Soon they were surrounded by the Sioux, and 
their leader, exasperated by their continued loss, gave orders 
for a general onset, when all the Ojibways were toma- 
hawked. The thirteenth returned home, and related the 
circumstances, and while friends mourned, they delighted 
in the story of their bravery. 


In June, 1820, Governor Lewis Cass, of Michigan, visited 
the Lake Superior region. At Sault Ste. Marie he found 
forty or fifty lodges of Ojibways, and Shaugabawossin was 
the head chief. There was another chief Shingwauk, or 
Little Pine, who had been with the British in 1814, 2 and 
also Sassaba, a chief of the Crane Totem, whose brother had 
been killed at the battle of the Thames. He wore a scar- 
let uniform with epaulets, and was hostile to the United 
States. After some sharp words with the latter, on the 
16th of June a treaty was concluded, by which the " Chip- 

1 The story as given in the text was narrated by Aitkin, trader of Sandy 
Lake, and appears in Minnesota Year Bool- for 1851. James D. Doty, secre- 
tary of Gov. Cass in 1S20, gives a different version in his journal. 

The Fond du Lac Ojibways, he wrote, having been reprimanded by the more 
distant Ojibways for their un warlike spirit, thirteen went on a war party to 
the Sioux country. At night they came upon a party of Sioux and began to 
dig holes to which they might retreat, and fight to the last extremity. They 
appointed the youngest of their number to stand at a distance and watch the 
struggle and told him when they were all killed to go back, and tell their 
friends. Early in the morning they attacked the Sioux, who numbered nearly 
one hundred. They were forced back to their holes after four had been killed 
on the field, and here the other eight died. This story Doty received from the 
survivor. See letter of Gov. Lewis Cass to Secretary of War. Schoolcraft 
mentions that he saw the survivor at Grand Island in Lake Superior in 1820, 
and describes him as a youn? and graceful warrior. 

2 Anua Jameson mentions him in her Winter Studies and Summer Rambles. 



peway tribe of Indians ceded sixteen square miles of land, 1 
Sassaba 2 refused to sign, 3 and Little Pine signed under 
another name, Lavoine Bart. 

Governor Cass learned that Leech Lake, Sandy Lake, 
and Fond du Lac were the chief places of residence of the 
Ojibways. At Leech Lake, Flat Mouth was chief, and it 
was estimated there were two hundred men, three hundred 
and fifty women, and about eleven hundred children ; at 
Sandy Lake, the chief was Bookoosaingegum, by the French 
called Bras Casse, by the English, Broken Arm. At this 
point were eighty -five men, two hundred and forty -three 
women and children, and thirty-five half-breeds; at Fond 
du Lac, Ghingwauby, the Deaf Man, was chief, and the 
band numbered about forty-five men, sixty women, and 
two hundred and forty children. 4 


La Pointe Island, called by the voyageurs Middle Island, 
because half way between Sault Ste. Marie and Fort Wil- 
liam, and also Montreal Island, was only a transient 
trading post until after the United States military post 
was established at Sault Ste. Marie, and the American Fur 
Company organized. John Johnston, in 1791, stopped on 
the island with some goods, and traded with the Indian 
village, then about four miles westerly on the mainland. 

Governor Cass visited it in 1820, and Schoolcraft, who 
was his companion, in the Narrative of the Expedition, wrote: 
"Passing this [Bad] river, we continued along the sandy 
formation to its extreme termination, which separates the 

1 See Indian Treaties of United States. 

5 Sassaba used to walk about Sault Ste. Marie naked, except a large gray 
wolfs skin with the tail dandling' on the ground. On Sept. 16, 1822, he was 
drowned in the rapids while under the influence of liquor. 

3 Schoolcraft's Narrative. 

* Doty's Report, Sept. 1820, to Governor Cass. Vol. vii. Wis. Hist. Soc. 



Bay of St. Charles [Chagouamigon] hy a strait from that 
remarkable group of islands called the Twelve Apostles 
by Carver. It is this sandy point which is called La 
Pointe, Chagoimegon hy the old French authors, a term 

now shortened to La Pointe Touching at the 

inner, or largest of the group, we found it occupied by a 
Chippeway village, under a chief called Bezhike. 1 There 
was a tenement, occupied by a Mr. M. Cadotte 2 who has 
allied himself to the Ciuppewas." 


In 1822, when John C. Calhoun was Secretary of War, 
the first military post and Indian agency of the United 
States was established at Sault Ste. Marie. 

In 1824, George Johiaston, an Indian sub-agent, went to 
the island, and the Warrens, two young men from Ver- 
mont, who had married daughters of Cadotte, represented 
the interests of the American Fur Company. McKenney, 
in 1826, visited what he calls Michael's Island, and alludes 
to two comfortable log houses lathed and plastered, and 
twenty acres under cultivation, and mentions that the 
trader Cadotte had lived there for twenty-five years. 
Under Cadotte and his son-in-law Lyman Warren, La 
Pointe Island grew in importance as a trading post. 
Through Warren's influence, as has been mentioned, 3 the 
first missionaries, since the days when Allouez and 
Marquette dwelt on the shores of Chagouamigon Bay, 
entered the country and. settled at La Pointe Island. 4 

1 A marble tombstone on the island, records that he died Sept. 7, 1855, 
aged 96 years. If this is correct, he was 17 years old when the English colo- 
nies declared their independence of Great Britain. 

2 Upon Michael Cadotte's tombstone it is mentioned that he died July 8, 
1837, aged 72 years, which would make his birth A. D. 1765. 

3 See page 406. 

* The child of the wife of Rev. Sherman Hall, was the first of pure white 
parentage born on the shores of Lake Superior, and west of Sault Ste. Marie. 





Major Taliaferro, who had been appointed in 1819, the 
first Indian agent above Prairie du Chien, in his journal 
under date of July 10, 1820, mentions one of the first visits 
of Ojibways to the agency at the mouth of the Minnesota 
River. He writes: "The Chippeways have visited me, 
twenty-eight in number, under Abesheke their chief. They 
smoke the pipe of peace with the three bands of Sioux near 

this place Col. Dickson 1 informs me that if I 

succeed in completing the peace between the Siouxand Chip- 
peways, that the latter to the number of two hundred and 
fifty to three hundred will visit my agency." 

In 1823, a large party of Ojibways visited the agency 
and held a council with the Sioux in the presence of the 
Indian asrent Taliaferro. 

After criminations and recriminations, the Sioux pre- 
sented the calumet, as they had been the first to violate the 
agreement which had been made three years before. 
Wamenitonka (Black Dog), presented it to Pasheskonoepe, 
the oldest Ojibway chief, who after handing it to the In- 
dian agent, smoked it, and passed it to the rest. The cere- 
mony concluded with a little whiskey presented by the 
agent, but in two days they were again about to fight each 

The council was held on the 4th ofi June, but it was not 
until the next day that Flat Mouth (Aish-ke-bug-e-koshe), 

1 Robert Dickson, known to Indians as " Red Head," with Archibald Camp- 
bell, Duncan Graham, and F. M. Dease, were traders on the Minnesota and 
the Upper Mississippi before the year 1802. Dickson during the war of 1812 
was British Superintendent of Indians. Capt. Anderson in a speech to the 
Indians at Prairie du Chien in 1S14 said, "My brethren ! you must not call 
me father. You have only one father in this country, that is the Red Head, 
Robert Dickson, the others are all your brethren.'' In 1815, Dickson was for 
a period at Prairie du Chien. Wisconsin Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. ix. p. 236. 

A notice of Dickson may be found in XeilVs History of Minnesota, pp. 279- 
283, 2S9-291. 



the head chief of the Ojibwavs arrived, and the Sioux 
chief of the old village, Panisciowa, was the first person he 
sent, who held out his hand, but the Ojibway would not 
take it. The Sioux chief, indignant, raised a war party, 
and the next day surrounded the Ojibwavs, who had placed 
their women and children behind the log huts of the old 
cantonments, and were ready to fight. Before any blood 
was shed, the agent, and colonel of the fort, effected a recon- 


Beltrami, the Italian traveller, was on the 9th of Sep- 
tember, of this year, at Leech Lake, and found the Ojib- 
ways there in two factions, one under Cloudy Weather, 
and the other under Aish-ke-bug-e-koshe or Flat Mouth. 
Cloudy Weather's son-in-law had been killed by the Sioux, 
a few days before, and they were meditating a war party, 
but at length agreed to go and consult with agent Talia- 
ferro. Soon after, 1 Flat Mouth was in his tent, at full 
length, " like old Silenus in a state of intoxication."^ - ^"""^ 

long's visit to the ojibway country a. d. 1823. 
Keating, the historigrapher of Major Long's expedition, 
in 1823, to the sources of the Minnesota, and from thence 
to Lake Winnipeg, and the north shore of Lake Superior 
to Sault Ste. Marie, doubted whether the population of 
the Ojibway tribe had ever been large, and after mention- 
ing that they were divided into many local bands, uses 
this language : "We can form no idea of the population of 
each of these bands or of the whole nation, but although 
we travelled over about fourteen hundred miles of country 
claimed by the Chippeways from the main fork of Red 
River to the Sault de Ste. Marie, the whole amount of 
Indians we fell in with did not exceed one hundred. We 
heard of no traditions respecting their origin upon which 
any confidence might be placed. The tales we heard were 

1 Beltrami, vol. ii. p. 441. 


go much intermixed with childish details, and contained so 
many coincidences with the Mosaic doctrines, evidently 
derived from white men, that they do not deserve to be 
noted." 1 


During the month of July, 1824, a Mr. Findlay with a 
Canadian named Barrette, and two others, were met at 
Lake Pepin by an Ojibway war party and killed. 

In the spring, Kewaynokwut, a chief of Lac Vieux 
Desert, while very sick, made a vow, that if he recovered, 
he would lead a war party against the Sioux. After he 
gained strength, early in July with twenty-nine warriors 
he descended the Chippeway River to its mouth, where he 
arrived, early on a foggy morning, and found Findlay and 
his party still asleep. When it was discovered they were 
not Sioux, the Ojibways began to pillage, and first killed 
all but Findlay, who was near his canoe. He was at length 
pursued by an Indian named Little Thunder who shot 
him, and then waded in the water, cut off his head, and 
took the scalp. 

The affair created great excitement, and on the 31st of 
August, John Holiday, 2 a trader, came to Sault Ste. Marie 
bearing a small coffin painted black containing the scalp of 
the American killed at Lake Pepin, which had been sent 
down by the Ojibway chief at Keweenaw. Schoolcraft, 
then Indian agent, forwarded it to the Governor of Michi- 
gan, who was Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the 
Northwest, and on the 22d of June, 1825, the murderers 
were delivered up. 


In view of the dissensions amons: the Indians of the 
Northwest, the United States government authorized Gov- 

1 Expedition to Sources of St. Peter's River, etc., vol. ii. pp. 148, 150. Lon- 
don, 1825. 

2 Holiday had been a trader since 1803. 



ernor Clark of Missouri, and Governor Cass of Michigan, 
to make an effort to settle the boundaries of the tribes, 
and establish peaceful relations. 

At Prairie du Chien, on the 19th of August, 1825, a 
grand conference was held with the Sioux, Ojibways, 
Sauks, and Foxes, Menomonees, Ioways, Pottawattomies, 
Ottawas and Winnebagoes. After some discussion, 1 the 

1 The Ojibways who signed this treaty were : — 
Shingauba W'Ossin, first chief, 
Gitspee Jiauba, second chief, 
Gitspee Waiskee, or Le Bceuf, 
Mongazid, Loon's Foot, 
Wescoup, or Sucre, 
Mush-koas, or The Elk, 
Naubun Aqueezhiok, 
Kautawaubeta, Broken Tooth, 
Pugisaingegen, Broken Arm, 
Kweeweezaishish or Grossecuelle, 
Babaseekeendase, Curling Hair, 

Peechananim, Striped Feather, 
Puinanegi, Hole-in-the-Day, 
Pugaagik, Little Beef, 
Shaata, The Pelican, 
Cheonoquet, Great Cloud, 
Kiawatas, The Tarrier, 
Maugegabo, The Leader, 
Nangotuck, The Flame, 
White Devil, 
Neesopena, Two Birds, 
Iaubensee, Little Buck, 
Neesidayshish, The Sky, 
Piagick, Single Man, 
Peesecker, Buffalo, 
Naudin, or The Wind, 

Tukaubishoo, Crouching Lynx, 
Red Devil, 
The Track, 

Nebonabee, The Mermaid, 
Kahaka, White Sparrow, 

Sault Ste. Marie. 

La Pointe. 
« u 

Fond du Lac. 
(< it 

<< tt 

u n 

Sandy Lake. 

Leech Lake. 

Upper Red Cedar. 
Red Lake, 
ft << 

Mille Lac. 
St. Croix Band. 

Lac Courte Oreille. 

Lac du Flambeau. 


following article was adopted by the Sioux and Ojibways : 
u It is agreed that the line dividing their respective coun- 
tries, shall commence at the Chippewa River, a half day's 
march below the falls; and from thence it shall run to 
Red Cedar River immediately below the falls; from thence 
to the St. Croix River which it strikes at a place called the 
Standing Cedar, about a day's paddle in a canoe, above 
the lake at the mouth of that river ; thence passing be- 
tween two lakes called by the Chippewas 6 Green Lakes,' 
and by the Sioux the * Lakes they bury the eagles in,' 
and from thence to the Standing Cedar the Sioux split, 
thence to Rum River crossing it at the mouth of a small 
creek called Choking Creek, a long day's march from the 
Mississippi ; thence to a point of woods that projects into 
the prairie half a day's march from the Mississippi; thence 
in a straight line to the mouth of the first river which 
enters the Mississippi on its west side, above the mouth of 
Sac River; thence ascending the said river above the 
mouth of Sac River to a small lake at its source ; thence 
in a direct line to a lake at the head of Prairie River, 
which is supposed to enter the Crow Wing River on its 
south side ; thence to Otter Tail Lake Portage ; thence to 
said Otter Tail Lake, and down through the middle thereof 
to its outlet ; thence in a direct line so as to strike Buffalo 
River, half way from its source to its mouth, and down 
the said river to Red River ; thence descending Red River 
to the mouth of Outard or Goose Creek. 

" The eastern boundary of the Sioux commences opposite 
Ioway River on the Mississippi, runs back two or three 
miles to the bluffs, follows the bluffs crossing Bad Axe 
River, to the mouth of Black River, and from Black River 
to a half day's march below the falls of the Chippeway 

A noted Sandy Lake chief, Curly Head or Ba-ba-see- 
keen-dase as his Indian name appears in the treaty, on his 



way home from Prairie du Chien was taken sick and died ; 
the wife of the old Hole-in-the-Day also died at Sauk 
River. During Curly Head's sickness he called two 
brothers who as young men had been his pipe bearers, 
and committed to them the care of the Mississippi Ojib- 
ways. One of these was Song-uk-um-eg, Strong Ground ; 
the other Pug-on-a-ke-shig, 1 Hole-in-the-Day. 


As full deputations of the Ojibways were not at Prairie 
du Chien, it was agreed that the tribe should assem- 
ble again at the Fond du Lac of Lake Superior. The 
commissioners on the part of the United States were 
Gov. Lewis Cass and T. L. McKenney. On the second of 
August, 1826, the council met, and after the usual feast, 
speeches, and exhausting of patience, on the fifth, a treaty 
was concluded, which was ratified on the second of Feb- 
ruary of the next year by the United States Senate. By 
the third article, the United States was given a the right to 
search for and carry away any metals or minerals from 
any part of their country." 


Shingaba Wossin, of Sault Ste. Marie, then the head 
chief, was the principal speaker. In council he said: "My 
relatives! our fathers have spoken to us about the line 
made at the Prairie [du Chien]. With this I and my band 
are satisfied. You who live on the line are most interested. 
. . . . My friends! our fathers have come here to 
embrace their children. Listen to what they say. It will 
be good for you. If you bave any copper on your lands, 
I advise you to sell it. It is of no use to us. They can 

1 The name attached to the treaty of 1825, is spelled Pu-in-a-ne-gi. 




make articles out of it for our use. If any one has any 
knowledge on this subject, I ask him to bring it to light." 

The father of this chief was Alaid-o-Saligee, who had 
four wives, three of whom were sisters, and by them he 
had twenty children. Shingaba Wossin, during the war 
w 7 ith Great Britain, in 1813, went to Canada, and one of 
his brothers was killed at the battle of the Thames. 


While the commissioners were at Fond du Lac an In- 
dian entered Col. McKenne3 7 's room the embodiment of 
despair. Feeble in step, haggard in countenance, emaci- 
ated in body, he was a man without a friend. In 1820 he 
had been employed by Gov. Cass and H. R. Schoolcraft to 
act as a guide through the copper region for some who 
were making explorations. "Wabishkeepenas, or White 
Pigeon, was his name, and it was with the disapproval 
of many of his tribe that he started on a journey for 
the great copper rock, which they looked upon as sacred. 
For some reason he lost his way, and the party was 
forced to return. From this time he was looked upon by 
his band, as one who had offended the Manitou, and he 
was shunned. He felt like Cain, and became a "fugitive 
and vagabond." He wandered alone in the woods, but 
lost the cunning of his hands, so that he was not success- 
ful in the hunt, and lived upon the roots of the earth. 1 
The commissioners upon hearing the story took pity upon 
the poor fellow, " and determined to restore him to the 
standing from which he had fallen, and having loaded him 
with presents, convinced him and his band that his offence 
was forgiven and luck changed." 2 

1 In 1857, he carried letters from La Pointe, to Sault Ste. Marie, and still 
was unpopular with his tribe. 

2 The superstition of the Indians relative to copper was noticed by early 
travellers. Allouez, the Jesuit missionary, writes of the Lake Superior In- 
dians : " They often find at the bottom of the water pieces of pure copper 




Commissioner McKenney, on the 31st of July, went to 
an island in the St. Louis Eiver opposite the American 
Fur Company's post, to visit an old woman named Oshe- 
gwun, whose career had been quite remarkable. When 
about fourteen years of age she went with a band of sixty 
men, women, and children, to the vicinity of the Falls of 
Chippewa River, which were surprised by the Sioux who 
rushed down the hillsides and tired into their lodges. 
Oshegw T un ran toward the w-oods, and was pursued by a 
Sioux who caught and bound her. Another Sioux then 
approached and struck her with a war-club, partially 
scalped her and was about to cut her throat when he was 
shot. In the contest for the girl each warrior had taken 
a portion of her scalp, and, while they were disputing, her 
father came up and killed both. When night came the 
parent went to the spot where he had seen his daughter, 
found the pieces of scalp, and by the blood on the snow 
reached the place to which she had crawled. The daugh- 
ter survived and lived to have three husbands, all of wdiorn 
were unkind, and to be the mother of ten children. Her 
son Okeenakeequid appeared at the council in a Sioux 
dress, which he obtained at the treaty of Prairie du Chien 

weighing from ten to twenty pounds. I have often seen them in the hands of 
the savages, and as they are superstitious they look upon them as so many 
divinities, or as presents made to them by the gods who are at the bottom of 
the lake, to be the cause of their good fortune." 

Governor Denonville, of Canada, in 16S7 wrote : " I have seen one of our 
voyageurs, who assures me that some fifteen months ago he saw a lump of two 
hundred weight as yellow as gold, in a river which falls into Lake Superior. 
When heated it could be cut with an axe, but the superstitious Indians, regard- 
ing this boulder as a £ood spirit, would not permit him to take any of it away.' 

La Ronde, the officer in charge at Chagouamigon Bavin 1730, reported that 
he had received " a fragment of copper weighing eighteen pounds, which in 
smell, color, and weight resembled the ordinary red copper. This insrot had 
been brought in by an Indian, but the savages were superstitious as to those 
discoveries, and would not reveal the locality." 



in 1825, where the Sioux and Ojibways smoked together. 
At that time a Sioux warrior proposed to exchange cloth- 
ing with him, and after they had made the change the 
Sioux looking him in the face, and pointing to the head- 
dress, archly said: "Brother, when you put that dress on, 
feel up there, there are five feathers, I have put one in for 
each scalp I took from your people, remember that" 


Okeenakeequid was employed to make a birch canoe, 
and McKenney graphically describes the process of con- 
struction. "The ground being laid oif in length and 
breadth answering to the size of the canoe (thirty-six 
feet long and five wide), stakes are driven at the two ex- 
tremes, and thence, on either side, answering in their posi- 
tion, to the form of a canoe. Pieces of bark are then sown 
together with wattap (the root of the red cedar or fir), and 
placed between those stakes, from one end to the other, 
and made fast to them. The bark thus arranged hangs 
loose, and in folds, resembling in general appearance, though 
without their regularity, the covers of a book, with its back 
downwards, the edges being up, and the leaves out. Cross 
pieces are then put in. These press out the rim, and give 
the upper edges the form of the canoe. Upon these ribs, 
and along their whole extent, large stones are placed. The 
ribs having been previously well soaked, they bear the 
pressure of these stones, till they became dry. Passing 
around the bottom, and up the sides of the canoe to the 
rim, they resemble hoop3 cut in two, or half circles. The 
upper parts furnish mortising places for the rim ; around 
and over which, and through the bark, the wattap is 
wrapped. The stakes are then removed, the seams 
gummed, and the fabric is lifted into the water, where it 
floats like a feather." 



During the summer of 1826, the Ojibways came to visit 
the Indian agent at Fort Snelling, and encamped on the 
eastern shore of the Mississippi nearly opposite to the 
fort. Soon they were attacked by the Sioux. Henry II. 
Snelling, in a letter published in April, 1856, in the Saint 
Paul Pioneer and Democrat, wrote: "From the tower of 
the fort I witnessed the battle that ensued, and it is need- 
less to say that the Chippewas though favored by numbers, 
were entirely routed, and men, women, and children indis- 
criminately butchered. The Sioux returned triumphantly. 
A large portion landed under the walls of the fort, and 
proceeded to the prairie, about a quarter mile northwest of 
it, where they performed the war-dance around the scalps 
of their victims. 

On the 28th of May, 1827, the Ojibways again visited 
the fort, and as a precautionary measure encamped near 
its walls. Flat Mouth, with seven warriors and about 
sixteen women and children, composed the party. 


They were told by Colonel Snelling and agent Taliaferro 
that as long as they encamped under the flag, and near 
the walls of the fort, they would be secure. During the 
afternoon some Sioux visited the camp, and were feasted 
and smoked the pipe of peace. 

That night, as some officers were on the porch of Capt. 
Kathan Clark's quarters, which was one of the stone houses 
that used to stand outside of the gates, a bullet whizzed 
by, and rapid tiring began. The Sioux, after their profes- 
sion of friendship, had returned and attacked the unsus- 
pecting Ojibways, killing two and wounding six. A little 
daughter of Flat Mouth was pierced through both thighs 


by a bullet, and though she received attention from Sur- 
geon McMahon, soon died. 

Captain Clark the next morning went in pursuit of the 
assassins, and thirty-two prisoners were soon brought back 
from Land's End. Colonel Snelling ordered them to be 
brought into the presence of the Ojibways who were on the 
parade ground, and two being recognized as participants in 
the attack were delivered to the aggrieved party, who led 
them out to the plain in front of the fort gate, and when 
placed at a certain distance, were told to run for their lives. 
With the rapidity of frightened deer they bounded over 
the ground, but the Ojibway bullets flew faster, and they 
soon fell lifeless to the ground. 1 After the execution, the 
Ojibways entered the fort, and the same day a deputation 
of Sioux warriors arrived to express sorrow for the act of 
their young men, and to deliver two more of the assassins. 

The Ojibways under a son of Flat Mouth met the Sioux 
on the prairie, near where the Indian agent resided, and 
with much solemnity two more of the guilty were deliv-. 
ered. One was fearless, and with firmness stripped him- 
self of his clothing and ornaments, and distributed them. 
The other could not lace death with composure. 2 He was 
disfigured by a hare-lip and begged for life. H. II Snell- 
ing mentions that "their inanimate bodies no sooner 
touched the ground than both Sioux and Chippewas 
rushed to the spot, and thrusting their knives into the 
still warm flesh of the brave men, drew them reeking with 
blood, through their lips, saying, that the blood of so brave 
men would inspire courage in the weakest heart. The 

1 Accounts vary. H. H. Snelling writes that they refused to run, and, 
facing their foes, told them to fire. 

a Major Garland told Schoolcraft that the two walked to execution hand in 
hand, when one perceiving that his comrade trembled, drew away his hand, 
and said he would be ashamed to die by the side of a coward. Schoolcraft'* 
Reminiscences, p. 618. 


body of the coward, however, was trampled on indiscrimi- 
nately by Sioux and Chippewas, and subjected to every 
species of indignity." 

The dead bodies were then dragged to the high bluff 
above the fort, and thrown into the Mississippi. 

W. Joseph Snelling in one of his stories writes: "The 
Flat Mouth's band lingered in the fort till their wounded 
comrade died. He was sensible of his condition, and bore 
his pains with great fortitude. When he felt his end ap- 
proach, he desired that his horse might be caparisoned and 
brought to the hospital window, so that he might touch 
the animal. He then took from his medicine bag a large 
cake of maple sugar, and held it forth. It may seem 
strange, but it is true, that the beast ate it from his hand. 
His features were radiant with delight, as he fell back on 
the pillow exhausted. His horse had eaten the sugar he 
said, and he was sure of a favorable reception a/nd comfort- 
able quarters in the other world. We tried to discover 
the details of this superstition, but could not succeed." 


On the 20th of May, 1829, there was a peace dance at 
Fort Snelling, by about one hundred relatives of the four 
Sioux who had been delivered in 1827 to be executed by 
the Ojibways. An uncooked dog was hung upon a stake, 
and each dancer came up and took a bite. Seven days 
afterwards twenty-two bark canoes filled with Ojibways 
from Sandy Lake, Gull Lake, and Rum River arrived, and 
on Sunday, the last day of May, the Sioux and Ojibways 
danced together before Agent Taliaferro's house. Then 
the Sioux crossed the river and danced before the Ojibway 
lodges, and to return the compliment, the next day the 
Ojibwa} T s went to Black Dog's, a Sioux village four miles 
above the fort, on the Minnesota River, and danced. An 



agreement was then made that they would hunt in peace 
on the prairies above the Sauk River. 


The civil chief of Leech Lake, Aish-ke-bug-e-koshe, or 
Flat Mouth, in July, 1828, made his first visit to Sault 
Ste. Marie. His youth had been passed as a hunter, in the 
British possessions, west of the Red River of the North, 
and his first medal was received from William Mc- 
Gillivray of the Northwest Company, after whom Fort 
William 1 at the mouth of the Kamanistiguia was named. 
This medal in 1806, he delivered up at Leech Lake, to Lt. 
Z. M. Pike. 


The same month, arrived the Sandy Lake chief, Catawat- 
abeta, by the French, known as the Breche, and by the 
English, Broken Tooth. He was the oldest of the Ojib- 
way chiefs on the Upper Mississippi, and had in 1822 
visited Sault Ste. Marie. He was a small boy, when the 
Ojibways in 1763 captured Fort Mackinaw. He mentioned 
to Agent Schoolcraft, that he had until lately in his pos- 
session a French flag which had been presented to his an- 
cestors, but he had given it to a British trader, Ermatinger, 
whose wife was his daughter, and that he had taken it to 
Montreal. 2 


Among others from Leech Lake was the principal war- 
chief Chianokwut, called by the French, Couvert du 
Temps (Cloudy Weather). 

1 Neill's History of mnnesota, 5th edition, 1883, p. 886. 
* Schoolcraft's Personal Memoirs, pp. 293, 295, 305. 




Flat Mouth in the spring of 1832 led a war party beyond 
Crow Wing River, and met a band of Sioux, killed three 
and wounded about the same number, and lost one of their 
own men, who belonged to Cass Lake. 

In 1832, Henry R. Schoolcraft, the Indian agent, visited 
the Upper Mississippi with an escort of soldiers under Lt. 
James Allen, U. S. A. The Rev. W. T. Boutwell, one of 
the associates of the Rev. Mr. Ferry, the Presbyterian mis- 
sionary at Mackinaw, was invited to accompany the expe- 

On the night of the 7th of July a man came from Leech 
Lake and informed Schoolcraft of the recent skirmish of 
the Pillagers with the Sioux. The Ojibways lost one man 
and took three scalps. He also mentioned that a party of 
Sioux had been to Pembina, scalped a child, and fled. The 
Ojibways pursued and killed four Sioux, in revenge. Leech 
Lake was reached at 10 P. M. of the 16th of July. Mr. 
Boutwell in his Xarrative 1 writes that early on the next 
morning u the principal chief [Flat Mouth] sent his mis- 
hinne, waiting-man, requesting Mr. Schoolcraft to come 
and breakfast with him. 


"Decorum required him to comply with the request, 
though he was at liberty to furnish the table mostly him- 
self. A mat spread in the middle of the floor served as a 
table, upon which the dishes were placed. Around this 
were spread others upon which the guests sat while the 
wife of the chief waited upon the table, and poured the tea. 
She afterward took breakfast by herself." After break- 
fast they proceeded to the chiefs headquarters which is 
thus described: "It is a building perhaps twenty feet by 

1 Missionary Herald, Boston, 1834. 



twenty-five, made of logs, which I am informed was pre- 
sented to him by one of the traders. As we entered, the 
old chief, bare-legged and bare-foot, sat with much dignity 
upon a cassette. A blanket, and cloth about the loins, 
covered his otherwise naked body, which was painted 
black. His chief men occupied a bench by his side, while 
forty or more of his warriors sat on the floor around the 
walls of his room smoking. The old man arose and gave 
us his hand as we were introduced, bidding us to take a 
seat at his right, on his bed. As I cast my eye around 
upon this savage group, for once, I wished I possessed the 
painter's skill. The old chief had again returned to his seat 
upon the large wooden trunk, and as if to sit a little more 
like a white man than an Indian, had thrown one leg 
across the other knee. His warriors were all feathered, 
painted, and equipped for service. Many of them wore the 
insignia of courage, a strip of polecat skin around the 
head or heels, the bushy tail of the latter so attached as to 
drag on the ground; the crown of the head was ornamented 
with feathers, indicating the number of enemies the indi- 
vidual had killed, on one of which I counted no less than 

" One side of his room was hung with an English and 
American flag, medals, war-clubs, lances, tomahawks, 
arrows, and other implements of death. The subject of 
vaccination was now presented to the chief, with which he 
was pleased, and ordered his people to assemble for that 
purpose. I stood by the doctor, and kept the minutes 
while he performed the business. 

"Preparations were now making for taking our leave 
when the chief arose, and, giving his hand to each, spoke 
as follows, in reply to Mr. Schoolcraft, who had addressed 
them as 6 My children.' 




"'You call us children. We are not children, but men. 
When I think of the condition of my people I can hardly 
refrain from tears. It is so melancholy that even the trees 
weep over it. When I heard that you were coming to 
visit us, I felt inclined to go and meet you. I hoped that 
you would bring us relief. But if you did not furnish 
some relief, I thought I should go farther, to the people 
who wear big hats, in hopes of obtaining that relief from 
them, which the Long Knives [Americans] have so often 

" y Our great father promised us, when we smoked the pipe 
with the Sioux at Prairie du Chien in 1825, and at Fond 
du Lac in 1826, that the first party who crossed the line, 
and broke the treaty, should be punished. This promise 
has not been fulfilled. ^N"ot a year has passed but some of 
our young men, our wives, and our children have fallen, 
and the blood that has begun to flow will not soon stop. 
I do not expect this year will close before more of my 
young men will fall. When my son was killed, about a 
year since, I determined not to lay down any arms as 
long as I can see the light of the sun. I do not think the 
Great Spirit ever made us to sit still and see our young 
men, our wives, and our children murdered. 

" 4 Since we have listened to the Long Knives, we have 
not prospered. They are not willing we should go our- 
selves, and flog our enemies, nor do they fulfil their 
promise and do it for us.' 

"The medals of each chief and a string of wampum were 
now brought forth stained with vermilion. 

"'See our medals,' and holding them up by the strings, 
he continued: 'These and all your letters are stained with 
blood. I return them all to you to make them bright. 



None of us wish to receive them back,' laying them at Mr. 
Schoolcraft's feet, 'until you have wiped off the blood.' 

"Here a shout of approbation was raised by all his war- 
riors present, and the old man, growing more eloquent, 
forgot that he was holding his blanket around his naked 
body with one hand, and it dropped from about him, and 
he proceeded : — 

" ' The words of the Long Knives have passed through 
\ our forests as a rushing wind, but they have been words 
merely. They have only shaken the trees, but have not 
stopped to break them down, nor even to make the rough 
places smooth. 

"'It is not that we wish to be at war with the Sioux, but 
when they enter our country and kill our people, we are 
obliged to revenge their death. Xor will I conceal from 
you the fact that I have already sent tobacco and pipe- 
stems to different bands to invite them to come to our re- 
lief. We have been successful in the late war, but we do 
not feel that we have taken sufficient revenge.' 

"Here a bundle of sticks two inches long was presented, 
indicating the number of Ojibways killed by the Sioux 
since the treaty of 1825, amounting to forty-three. Just 
as we were ready to embark, the old man came out in his 
regimentals, a military coat faced with red, ruffled shirt, 
hat, pantaloons, gloves, and shoes. So entirely changed 
was his appearance that I did not recognize him until he 
; spoke. 

" This band is the largest and perhaps the most warlike 
in the whole Ojibway nation. It numbers 706, exclusive 
of a small hand, probably 100 on Bear Island, one of the 
numerous islands in the lake." 

Schoolcraft in his Narrative mentions that Ma-je-ga-bo- 
wi, who tomahawked Governor Semple, of Selkirk settle- 
ment, after he fell from his horse, was present at the coun- 
cil with Flat Mouth. 



The Sanely Lake band of Ojibways in February, 1833, 
sent out sixty warriors, under Songegoinik, a young chief, 
who found nineteen teepees of the Sioux, and in the night 
surrounded them. Before sunrise the next day, the Ojib- 
ways opened fire, and without any injury to themselves, 
killed nineteen, and wounded forty of the Sioux. In re- 
taliation a war party of about one hundred Sioux was 
formed, which attacked a fortified camp of Mille Lacs and 
Snake River Ojibways, and killed nine men and one woman. 


On the 2d of July, 1836, a distinguished French astrono- 
mer, J. "N. Nicoley or Nicollet (Jficpjay), arrived in the 
steamboat Saint Peter at Fort Snelling, to explore the 
Upper Mississippi under the direction of the United States 
government, and left the fort on the 27th, for the sources 
of the Mississippi. He reached Leech Lake in August, 
and when the Pillager Ojibways found that he was only a 
poor scholar, with neither flour, nor beef, nor tobacco to 
give away, and constantly peeping through the tube of a 
telescope, they became very rude. The Rev. "W, T. Bout- 
well, whose mission house was on the opposite side of the 
lake, hearing the shouts and drumming of the Indians, 
came over to the relief of Nicollet, who writes: "On the 
fourth day he arrived, and although totally unknown to 
each other previously, a sympathy of feeling arose grow- 
ing out of the precarious circumstances under which we 
were both placed, and to which he had been much longer 
exposed than myself. This feeling from the kind atten- 
tions he paid me, soon ripened into affection and grati- 
tude." 1 

1 Nicollet's Report. Senate Document No. 237, 26th U. S. Congress, 2d 



He reached the Falls of Saint Anthony on the 27th of 
September, 1836, upon his return from Lake Itasca, and 
wrote the following letter to Major Taliaferro at Fort 
Snelling, which showed he had not mastered the English 
language, "Dear friend ;. I arrived last evening about dark; 
all well, nothing lost, nothing broken, happy, and a very 
successful journey. But I done exhausted, and nothing 
can relieve me, but the pleasure of meeting you again 
under your hospitable roof, and to see all the friends of 
the garrison who have been so kind to me. 

"This letter is more particularly to give you a very extra- 
ordinary tide. Flat Mouth, the chief of Leech Lake, and 
suite, ten in number, are with me. The day before yes- 
terday, I met them again at Swan River, where they de- 
tained me one day. I had to bear a new harangue and gave 
answer. All terminated, by their own resolution, that 
they ought to give you the hand, as well as to the Guinas 
of the fort (Colonel Davenport). I thought it my duty to 
acquaint you with it beforehand. Peace or war are at 
stake of the visit they pay you. Please give them a good 
welcome until I have reported to you and Colonel Daven- 
port all that has taken place during my stay among the 
Pillagers. But be assured I have not trespassed, and that 
I have behaved as a good citizen of the United States. As 
to Schoolcraft's statement alluding to you, you will have 
full and complete satisfaction from Flat Mouth himself. 
In haste, your friend, J. ^icoley." 1 


Not many weeks after the visit of Nicollet to Leech 
Lake, on the sixth of December, Alfred, a mixed blood, 
the eldest son of William Aitkin 2 of Sandy Lake, who, for 

1 Nicollet appears to have written his name in English at times Nicoley or 

2 He came to the Indian country about A. D. 1802. 



years, had been in charge of the posts of the American 
Fur Company west of Lake Superior, and east of the Mis- 
sissippi, in what is now Minnesota, was killed at Red 
Cedar, now Cass Lake. He was twenty-two years of age, 
and had come down the night before from Red Lake. 
One of his voyageurs who had gone to draw some water, 
came back and said that an Ojibway had broken open and 
entered the store. Aitkin went and pushed him out, and 
took from him an axe, but while he was locking the store- 
door, the Indian fired his gun and killed him. The father, 
as soon as he received the intelligence, went to Leech Lake 
for assistance, and in a little time twenty half-breeds, with 
Francis Brunette, at the head, offered their assistance. 
With the father they went to the camp where the mur- 
derer was, beyond Cass Lake, determined to cut off the 
whole band, should they attempt to rescue him. 

William Aitkin, in a letter to H. R. Schoolcraft, Indian 
agent at Sault Ste. Marie, wrote : 44 Our friend Mr. Bout- 
well joined the party with his musket on his shoulders, as 
a man and a Christian, for he knew it was a righteous 

Upon reaching the band, the murderer was seized and 
the excited parent would have killed the assassin on the 
spot, but the missionary Boutwell advised to take him 
where he could be tried under the laws of the land. Two 
days after his arrest, he managed to escape, but after a six 
days' pursuit by the half-breeds he was recaptured. 

On the 20th of February, 1837, he was brought down to 
Fort Snelling by the trader Morrison, and on the 11th of 
May, the accused, and the father of the murdered, left 
Fort Snelling, to attend the court to be held at Prairie du 

The trial of the Ojibway is said to have been the 
■first murder case under the territorial code of Wisconsin. 
One of the jurors in the trial of the case writes: 44 The 


case was conducted with very few formalities ; and when- 
ever the court took a recess, the jury were locked up in a 
grocery, where, for the sum of seventy-five cents each, we 
could have all the liquor we wanted, provided we did not 
waste or carry any away. Imbibing was quite prevalent 
among all classes in that day, and if each of the jurymen 
drank his seventy-five cents worth, the judge and counsel 
could not have been far behind, and some individual was 
heard to say that the prisoner was the only sober man in 
the court-room. 1 After the jury was charged, we were 
locked up two or three nights, and on the third morning 
we brought in a verdict of not guilty and he was dis- 


During the summer of 1837, Charles Vineyard, a sub- 
agent, was sent to invite the Ojibways to a council at Fort 
Snelling, with the United States commissioner Gov. Henry 
Dodge. Twelve hundred assembled in July, and a treaty 
was concluded on the 29th of the month, under some ex- 
citement, caused by the custom which had grown up within 
a few years, of holding a whole tribe responsible to the 
traders for the bad debts of individuals. 2 

The treaty was approved on the 15th of June, 1838, by 
the President and Senate of the United States. Under it 
the Ojibways ceded all the country within the following 
limits : u Beginning at the junction of the Crow Wing and 
Mississippi Rivers, between twenty and thirty miles above 
where the Mississippi is crossed by the forty-sixth parallel 
of north latitude, and running thence to the north point of 
Lake St. Croix, one of the sources of the St. Croix River ; 
thence to and along the dividing ridge between the waters 

1 It was alleged at the trial that young- Aitkin had persuaded the squaw of 
the Indian to desert her husband. Wis. Jlistt. Soc. Coll., vol. v. p. 271. 
* See Neill's History of Minnesota, oth edition, 1883, pp. 922, 923. 



of Lake Superior and those of the Mississippi to the sources 
of the Ocha-sau-sepe, a tributary of the Chippewa River ; 
thence to a point on the Chippewa River twenty miles 
below the outlet of Lake de Flambeau ; thence to the 
junction of the Wisconsin and Pelican Rivers ; thence on 
an east course twenty-five miles ; thence southerly on a 
course parallel with that of the Wisconsin River, to the 
line dividing the territories of the Chippewas and Meno- 
monies ; thence to Plover Portage ; thence along the north- 
ern boundary of the Chippewa country to the commence- 
ment of the boundary line dividing it from that of the 
Sioux, half a day's march below the Falls, on the Chippe- 
wa River ; thence with said boundary line to the north 
of Wattap River, at its junction with the Mississippi ; and 
thence up the Mississippi to the place of beginning." 


In the spring of 1838 a party of Sioux, with their fami- 
lies, accompanied by Rev. G. H. Pond, one of the Presby- 
terian missionaries, left Lac-qui-Parle, to hunt in the upper 
part of the valley of Chippewa River, near the site of the 
town of Benton, in Swift County, Minnesota. The num- 
ber of lodges was six, but on one Thursday in April, Mr. 
Pond and three lodges of Sioux were separated from the 
others. That evening there arrived at the other lodges 
Hole-in-the-Day, with his young son and nine Ojibways. 
The Sioux in these lodges were three men, and ten or 
eleven women or children. Hole-in-the-Day said he had 
come to smoke the pipe of peace, and was cordially re- 
ceived. Two dogs were killed, and he was treated to the 
luxury of dog-meat. 

At length all lay down, but all did not sleep. At mid- 
night Hole-in-the-Day and party arose, and massacred the 
sleeping Sioux, with the exception of a woman, and a 
wounded boy, who escaped, and a girl whom they took 


prisoner. The woman found the lodges, where the Rev. 
Mr. Pond was, and he accompanied by one Sioux went and 
buried the mutilated and scalped bodies. 


The sub-agent Vineyard was sent from Fort Snelling 
the next June to visit Hole-in-the-Day, and with Peter 
Quinn as interpreter held a council on an island in the 
Mississippi River a short distance above Little Falls. 
After some discussion the Sioux woman who was captured 
in April was given up. 


On the 2d of August, to the regret of Major Plympton, 
the officer in command, Hole-in-the-Day and other Ojib- 
ways visited Fort Snelling. The next evening a Presby- 
terian missionary, the Pev. Samuel W. Pond, met Talia- 
ferro, the Indian agent at Lake Harriet, and told him that 
a number of armed Sioux from Mud Lake had gone 
to B. F. Baker's stone trading house 1 between the fort and 
Minne Haha Falls, for the purpose of attacking the Ojib- 
ways. The agent hastened to the spot and reached the 
point just as the first gun was tired. An Ottawa half-breed 
of Hole-in-the-Day's party was killed, and another was 
wounded. Of the Sioux, Tokali's son was shot by Obe- 
quette of Red Lake, just as he was scalping the dead man. 

Major Plympton had Hole-in-the-Day and comrades 
placed under the protection of the fort, and at nine o'clock 
at night a Sioux was confined in the guard house as a 
hostage. The next day the major and Indian agent held a 
council with the Sioux, and Plympton said: "It is un- 
necessary to talk much. I have demanded the guilty ; 
they must be brought." 

* Afterwards used as a hotel, and then destroyed by fire. 



The Sioux assented, and at half past five in the afternoon, 
two sons of Tokali were delivered with much ceremony. 
Their old mother said: "Of seven sons, only three are left; 
one of them was wounded and soon would die, and if the 
two now given up were shot, her all was gone. I called 
on the head men to follow me to the fort. I started with 
the prisoners, singing their death song, and have delivered 
them at the gates of the fort. Have mercy upon them, 
for their folly and for their youth." 

But this night, notwithstanding the murdered man of 
Hole-in-the-Day 's party had been buried in the military 
graveyard for safety, an attempt was made by the Sioux, 
to dig up his remains. On the evening of the sixth of 
August, Major Plympton sent Hole-in-the-Day and party 
home, giving them provisions, and sending them across the 


In June, 1839, Hole-in-the-Day again determined to 
come down to Fort Snelling, and on the 18th the Indian 
agent sent a letter to him by Stephen Bonga 1 or Bungo, 
but on the 20th, Hole-in-the-Day arrived with five hundred 
Ojibways and asked permission to remain three days. The 
next day, under a canopy near the walls of the fort, the 
Ojibways held a council with the Sioux, Bonga acting as 
their interpreter. On Sunday the 23d, the whole number 
of Ojibways at the fort was eight hundred and forty-six, 
and twelve hundred Sioux. The day was passed in danc- 

1 His grandparents were negro slaves of Capt. Daniel Robertson, British 
commandant at Mackinaw from 1782 to 1787. After his death they remained, 
and Kelton gives the following marriage from the Parish Register :" 1794, 
June 25th, Jean Bonga and Jeanne." The married couple, Kelton mentions, 
kept the first inn on the island. In 1800 a negro named Pierre Bonga was 
with Alexander Henry of the Northwest Company in the valley of the Red 
River of the North. George Bonsra, supposed to be the father of Stephen, was 
an interpreter of Gov. Cass in 1820 at Fond du Lac. Stephen died in 1884. 



ing together, and in foot races. The next day a man by 
the name of Libbey came up in the steamboat Ariel, and 
sold thirty-six gallons of whisky to Scott Campbell the 
Sioux interpreter, and the next night the Sioux and Ojib- 
ways presented the scene of a pandemonium. 1 

Upon Sunday the 30th of June IIole-in-the-Day announced 
his intention to return to his own country, and on the 1st 
day of July the Sioux and Ojibways even smoked the pipe 
of peace, and Hole-in-the-Day began his ascent of the Mis- 
sissippi. Two Pillager Ojibways 2 however remained near 
the fort, and passing over to Lake Harriet, about sunrise 
on the morning of the 2d, killed Badger, a Sioux, on his 
way to hunt. 


The excitement now became great among the Sioux, and 
in a little while war parties were in pursuit of their old 
foes. The Lake Calhoun Sioux with those from the vil- 
lages on the Minnesota River assembled at the Falls of St. 
Anthony, and started in pursuit of the Mille Lacs band 
of Ojibways, and on the morning of the 4th of July before 
sunrise, found them in the valley of Rum River, and at- 
tacking them killed and wounded about ninety. The Ka- 
posia band of Sioux pursued the Saint Croix Ojibways, and 
on the third of July found them encamped with their 
trader Aitkin, in the ravine at Stillwater, where the Min- 
nesota Penitentiary is now situated, quite intoxicated. 
The sight of the Sioux tended to make them sober, but in 
the fight twenty-one of their number were killed, and 
twenty-nine were wounded. 

1 Taliaferro's MS. Journal. 

1 Relations of the man shot the summer before. 




The United States government has always frowned upon 
the attempts of speculators to exhibit Indians for the pur- 
pose of gain. J oel 11. Poinsett, Secretary of War under 
President Van Buren, in a letter to George Catlin, the 
painter of Indian portraits, expressed the sentiments of 
every high-minded citizen when he wrote: "I consider 
such proceedings as calculated to degrade the red man, 
and certainly not to exalt the whites engaged with them." 

An adventurer under the name of Rankin succeeded, in 
1839, in taking some Ojibways to England, and arrange- 
ments were made to exhibit them in connection with Cat- 
lin's portraits. The principal Indian was Ah-quee-we- 
zanits, about seventy-five years of age. The half-breed 
interpreter was Louis Cadotte. It had been arranged as a 
precautionary measure that the Ojibways should abstain 
from intoxicating liquors. In an interview with the Hon. 
Charles Augustus Murray, Master of the Household to 
Queen Victoria, they were offered champagne, which they 
at first, remembering their agreement, refused, but, he as- 
suring them that the drink would not intoxicate, they 
drank, and from that hour they talked about the Chee-ee 
Pop-po 1 by day, and dreamed of it hy night. After this, 
they were formally presented to the Queen, who presented 
them with several hundred dollars. The interpreter, Louis 
Cadotte, was of fine appearance, and a pretty and respect- 
able English girl fell in love with him. and with the con- 
sent of her parents they were married in St. Martin's Church, 
London. She came with him to Sault Ste. Marie, and 
after her death he was said to have been much depressed. 

1 Catlin mentions they gave champagne the name chick-a-bob-boo, because 
when the corkscrew was introduced there was a fizz, which sounded like chee- 
ee, and then the popping out of the cork. See Catlin's Ogxbbewaij Indians. 




During the summer of 1840, a Sioux and his wife were 
killed by Ojibways on the right bank of the Mississippi, 
near the mouth of the brook between Mendota and Saint 

On the eighth of April, 1841, three Ojibwajs came down 
the Mississippi in a canoe, which they left between St. An- 
thony and Minnehaha Falls, and hid themselves during 
the night near a footpath on the bank of the Mississippi 
about a mile above Fort Snelling. As a Sioux chief was 
passing in the morning with his son, they fired, killing the 
boy and mortally wounding the father. 


Pokeguma 1 is a beautiful lake four or five miles long, 
and about a mile wide, connected with Snake River, about 
twenty miles above its junction with the river St. Croix. 
In the year 1836, missionaries supported by the Presby- 
terian and Cono;re2;ational churches established a mission 
here, and built a residence on the east side of the lake, 
while the Ojibway village w r as on an island. 

The mission was for a time prosperous, and in a letter 
written in 1837, one of the missionaries writes: u The 
young women and girls now make, mend, wash, and iron 
after our manner. The men have learned to build log 
houses, drive team, plough, hoe, and handle an American 

In May 1841, Jeremiah Eussel now living at Sauk 
Rapids, then Indian farmer at this point, sent two Ojib- 
ways accompanied by Elam Greeley of Stillwater to the 
Falls of St. Croix for supplies. They arrived there on 
Saturday the fifteenth of the month, and the next day a 

1 In the treaty of 1842 spelled Po-ke-gom-raaw. 



steamboat arrived with goods. The captain said that a 
war party of Sioux headed by Big Thunder, called Little 
Crow by the whites, was advancing, and the Ojibways pre- 
pared to go back and warn their friends. They had not 
proceeded far when they discovered the foe, and quickly 
discharged their cruns and killed two of Bio; Thunder's 
sons. The Sioux returned the fire, and mortally wounded 
one of the Ojibways. According to custom, the bodies of 
the chiefs sons were ornamented, and set up with their 
faces towards the enemy's country, and the Ojibway was 
horribly mangled by the Sioux, and his scalped head 
placed in a kettle was suspended in front of their dead 

Big Thunder, disheartened by the loss of his sons, re- 
turned with his party to Kaposia, a village a few miles 
below Saint Paul, and on the opposite side of the Missis- 
sippi, but there were other parties on the war-path. 

It was not until Friday, the 21st of May, that the death 
of the Ojibway was known at Lake Pokeguma. Mr. Rus- 
sell, on the next Sunday, accompanied by a half-breed, and 
Capt. William llolcomb, subsequently the first Lieutenant 
Governor of Minnesota, went to the mission house to attend 
a religious service, and in returning the half-breed said 
there was a rumor that Sioux were approaching. On 
Monday, three young men left in a canoe, to go to the 
west shore of the lake, and from thence to Mille Lacs, to 
give intelligence to the Ojibways there resident. They 
took in the canoe two girls about twelve years of age, 
pupils of the mission school, for the purpose of bringing 
the canoe back to the island. Just as the three were land- 
ing, twenty or thirty Sioux with a war-whoop emerged 
from their hiding place and fired into the canoe. The 
young men instantly jumped into the water, which was 
shallow, returned the fire, and ran into the woods. The 
little girls waded into the lake and were pursued. Their 


parents upon the island heard the death cries of their 
children. Their fathers, burning for revenge, left the island 
in a canoe, and drawing it upon the shore of the lake, hid 
behind it, opened fire upon and killed one of the Sioux. 
The Sioux approaching, they again launched the canoe, one 
lay on his back at the bottom, the other plunged into the 
water, and holding the canoe with one hand, and swim- 
ming with the other, he pushed the canoe beyond the 
reach of the foe. As the Sioux would aim at him he 
dodged their shot, by putting his head under water, and 
waiting until he heard the discharge of their guns. Alter 
a skirmish of two hours, the Sioux, numbering over one 
hundred retreated, having lost two men. 

At the request of the parent Mr. E. F. Ely, the catechist 
of the mission, went across the lake with two of his friends 
to collect the mutilated* remains of his pupils. He found 
their heads cut off and scalped, with a tomahawk buried 
in the brains of each. Their bodies were pierced in the 
breast, and the right arm of one was broken away. Re- 
moving the tomahawks, he brought the bodies to the 
island, and in the afternoon they were buried with the 
simple and solemn rites of Christianity. 


In June, 1842, an Ojibway war party of about forty 
was formed at Fond du Lac in the valley of the St. Louis 
River, and appeared at the marsh below what is now the 
city of Saint Paul, and opposite to the Kaposia village 
of Sioux, of which Big Thunder was chief, and killed a 
Sioux, the wife of Gamelle a Canadian, and another woman 
and child. The Sioux warriors came over from the other 
side, and they lost ten men, and one known as the Dancer 
was horribly mutilated, while the Ojibways had only four 





Gn the 4th of October, 1842, a treaty was concluded at 
La Pointe between Robert Stuart, XJ. S. commissioner, and 
the Ojibways of Lake Superior and the Mississippi by 
which they ceded to the United States the country " begin- 
ning at the mouth of Chocolate River of Lake Superior, 
thence northwardly across the lake to intersect the bound- 
ary line between the United States and the Province of 
Canada; thence up said Lake Superior to the mouth of 
the St. Louis or Fond du Lac River (including all the 
islands in said lake); thence up said river to the American 
Fur Company's post, at the southwardly bend thereof, 
about twenty-two miles from its mouth; thence south to 
intersect the line of the treaty of July 29, 1837, with the 
Chippewas of the Mississippi; thence along said line to its 
southeast ward ly extremity near the Plover Portage on 
the Wisconsin River; thence northeastwardly along the 
boundary line between the Chippewas and Menonomees, to 
its eastern termination on the Skonawby River of Green 
Bay; thence northwardly to the source of Chocolate River; 
thence down said river to its mouth, the place of beginning." 


In the spring of 1847, the distinguished chief Hole-in- 
the-Day, while intoxicated, fell from a Red River cart near 
Platte River, Benton County, Minnesota, and soon died. 
He was buried upon a high bluff not far distant. For a 
quarter of a century he had exerted a great influence 
among his tribe. 

In 1820, the principal chiefs of the Sandy Lake Ojib- 
ways were Kadewabedas, an old man called by the French, 
Breche or Brechedent; by the English, Broken Tooth; and 
Babikesundeba or Curly Head. 

Broken Tooth in 1785 is mentioned in connection with 
traders at Sandy Lake, and Lieutenant Pike met him in 

bruxson's description of hole-in-the-day. 495 

1806, and in 1828 he died at a great age. Curly Head, 
mentioned by Pike in 1806, and visited by Cass in 1820, 
after attending the treaty at Prairie du Chien in 1825, 
became sick while returning to his village, and died. 
Hole-in-the-Day was with him at this time, and soon after 
became a prominent chief. Two prominent traders, Ash- 
mun and Ermatinger, lived with sisters of his wife, who 
was a daughter of Biaswah. Already in this article allu- 
sions have been made to his bold career. In the fifth 
volume of the Wisconsin Historical Collections, the Rev. 
Alfred Brunson, who had been the superintendent of a 
Methodist mission among the Sioux below Saint Paul, and 
afterwards U. S. agent for the Ojibways, gives the follow- 
ing reminiscences of this chief: — 

brunson's description of hole-in-the-day. 

"Some time in June of this year [1838], Miles Vineyard, 
sub-agent to the Chippewas on the Upper Mississippi, as- 
cended the river to a point a short distance above Little 
Falls and summoned Hole-in-the-Day and his band to a 
council, and demanded the prisoner. 

"In July, 1838, not knowing of this movement, I ascended 
the river, to the same point, with a view to establish a 
mission and school among those Indians. I found them 
in council, on an island. As is their custom, when a 
stranger arrives, all business was suspended till the new- 
comers were introduced I had heard so much 

of Hole-in-the-Day that I was anxious to see him. The 
council was in a thicket on an island. The underbrush 
had been cut out and piled in the centre, and perhaps fifty 
braves seated on the ground in the circle. The agent and 
his attaches were seated in like manner under a tree on one 
side of the circle, by the side of whom I and my atten- 
dants were assigned the place of honor, and looking in 
vain for one of distinguished appearance, I inquired of my 


interpreter which was the great chief, and he pointed to 
the dirtiest, most scowling, and savage-looking man in the 
crowd, who was lying on a pile of brush in the centre, as 
if, as I found to be the fact, he was alone on his side of 
the question to be settled. All others had agreed, before 
my arrival, to release the prisoner. As they resumed busi- 
ness, a dead silence occurred of some minutes, all waiting 
for his final answer. At length he rose up with impetu- 
osity, as if shot with a gun. His blanket, innocent of 
water since he owned it, was drawn over his left shoulder 
and around his body, his right arm swinging in the air, 
his eyes flashing like lightning, his brow scowled as if a 
thundergust had settled on it, and his long hair literally 
snapping in the air, from the quick motion of his head. I 
thought of Hercules with every hair a serpent, and every 
serpent hissing. 

"He came forward, as is their custom, and shook hands 
with the agent, and all the whites present, and then step- 
ping back a short distance, orator-like, to give himself 
room for motion, and swinging his right arm, said, address- 
ing the agent : — 

'"My father! I don't keep this prisoner out of any ill- 
will to you, nor out of any ill-will to my Great Father at 
"Washington; nor out of ill-will to these men [gracefully 
waving his hand back and around the circle], but I hate 
the Sioux. They have killed my relatives, and I'll have 
revenge. You call me chief, and so I am, by nature, as 
well as by office, and I challenge any of these men to dis- 
* ptite my title to it. If I am chief, then my word is law, 
otherwise you might as well put this medal [showing the 
one received from Governor Cass] upon an old woman.' 
He then threw himself upon a pile of brush. Finally, he 
arose again, but a little milder in manner, said: — 

"'My father! for your sake, and for the sake of these 
men [waving his hand around the circle], I'll give up the 


prisoner, and go myself and deliver her at the fort.' As 
this would have been injudicious, he at length consented 
to deliver the prisoner to the agent. In a little while, 
however, he determined to go uninvited to the fort, and 
the result has already been narrated." 1 Schoolcraft 2 de- 
scribed Hole-in-the-Day as "one of the most hardened and 
bloodthirsty wretches," and mentions that Mr. Aitkin, the 
elder, told him "that having once surprised and killed a 
Sioux family, the fellow picked up a little girl, who had 
fled from the lodge, and pitched her into the Mississippi. 
The current bore her against a point of land, and seeing it, 
the hardened wretch ran down and again pushed her in." 


In 1847, Hon. Henry M. Rice, now of St. Paul, late U. 
S. Senator from Minnesota, and Isaac A. Yerplanck, of 
Buffalo, [New York, were appointed commissioners to treat 
with the Ojibways for the country between the YTattap 
and Crow Wing Rivers. Hole-in-the-Day, the son of the 
recently deceased chief of that name, made his appearance 
in council for the first time as chief and addressed the 
commissioners as follows: — 


" Our Great Father instructed you to come here, for the 
purpose of asking us to sell a large piece of land, lying on 
and west of the Mississippi River. To accomplish this you 
have called together all the chiefs and head men of the 
nation who to the number of many hundreds are within 
the hearing of my voice : that was useless, for they do not 
own the land ; it belongs to me. My father, by his bravery, 
took it from the Sioux. He died a few moons ago, and 
what belonged to him became mine. He, by his courage 

1 See page 488. 

* Personal Memoirs, p. 611. 



and perseverance, became head chief of all the Chippewas, 
and when he died I took his place, and am consequently 
chief over all the nation. To this position I am doubly 
entitled, for I am as brave as my father was, and through 
my mother I am by descent the legal heir to the position. 

u Now, if I say sell, our Great Father will obtain the 
land ; if I say no, you will tell him he cannot have it. 
The Indians assembled here have nothing to say, they can 
but do my bidding." 

After this speech, the commissioners negotiated with 
him, and when he was satisfied with the propositions 
made, he was told that they must be explained to all the 
Indians, and their consent obtained. He did not like this, 
but the commissioners had the treaty explained by the in- 
terpreters, and they agreed to it without a dissenting voice. 
They were then called to sign the treaty, and waited for 
Hole-in-the-Day first to attach his mark. This he refused 
to do, but told them to walk up in order of rank, and sign 
the paper, which they did. 

After this, he said to commissioner Rice, that on the 
next day he would sign, but did not wish his name to ap- 
pear with the common Indians. After some conversation, 
it was arranged that below, after the sentence " I approve 
of this treaty and consent to the same," he should sign his 
name, and so it appears in the printed treaty. 


After the treaty of 1837, the Mississippi Ojibways re- 
ceived their first annuities at Lake St. Croix, but owing to 
their conflict with the Sioux, in 1839, La Pointe became 
the place where they received their payments. By the 
treaty of 1847 at Fond du Lac of St. Louis River, it was 
stipulated that they should receive their payments on the 
Mississippi. In 1849, a farm for their benefit w r as made 



at Gull Lake, and some of the Ojibways moved there with 
five chiefs. 

Alexander Ramsey, as Governor of Minnesota Territory, 
was ex-ofh'cio Superintendent of Indian Affairs. In June, 
1850, he visited the Ojibvvay country of the Upper Missis- 
sippi, with William Warren as interpreter, to select a suit- 
able place for an agency, and the sub-agent at La Pointe 
removed to Sandy Lake. 


During the month of April, 1850, there was a renewal 
of hostilities between the Sioux and Ojibways on lands 
that had been ceded to the United States. A Sioux war- 
prophet at Red Wing village dreamed that he ought to 
raise a war party. Announcing the fact, a number volun- 
teered to go, and several from the Kaposia village joined 
them. The leader of the party was a worthless fellow who 
the year before had been confined in the guard-house at 
Fort Snelling for scalping his wife. 

Passing up the valley of the Saint Croix, a few miles 
above Stillwater, they discovered on the snow the marks 
of a keg and foot-prints. From these, they knew that 
Ojibways were returning from a whiskey shop. Following 
their trail, they found on the Apple River, a tributary of 
the Saint Croix, a party of Ojibways in one large wigwam. 
Waiting till daybreak, on the 2d of April the Sioux fired 
on the unsuspecting inmates, "fifteen in all, and none were 
left alive, except a boy, who was taken prisoner. The 
next day the Sioux came to Stillwater, and danced the 
scalp-dance around the captive, striking him in the face 
at times with the scarcely cold scalps of his relatives. The 
child was then taken to Kaposia, the Sioux village below 
Saint Paul, and adopted by the chief. 

Governor Ramsey immediately took measures to send 
the boy to his friends. At a conference held at the Gov- 



ernor's house, the boy was delivered up, and on being 
taken to the kitchen by a little son of the Governor, since 
deceased, he cried, seeming more afraid of his white friends 
than his dusky captors. 


On the afternoon of the 15th of May, naked and painted 
Sioux warriors were seen in Saint Paul much excited. A 
few hours before the Ojibway chief, young Hole-in-the-Day, 
had secreted his canoe in a gorge near the western suburbs, 
and with two or three associates crossed the river, attacked 
a small party of Sioux, and killed one man. To adjust the 
difficulties Gov. Ramsey held a council on the 12th of June, 
and the contending parties, as they had often done before, 
promised to live in peace. 


During the winter of 1850-51, the Ojibways of Red, 
Cass, Leech, and Sandy Lakes, suffered much from want of 
food. About the first of October, 1850, the Indians col- 
lected at the new agency at Sandy Lake to receive their 
annuities, and here, to their disappointment, they were 
kept seven or eight weeks awaiting the arrival of provi- 
sions. During this period the measles and dysentery pre- 
vailed, and many died. "With only a partial payment, they 
began to go to their homes. A family consisting of a 
man, wife, and two children, and wife's brother, left Sandy 
Lake in health, but w T hen about half way to Leech Lake, 
the wife's brother was taken sick and died. They buried 
him and continued their journey. Then the two children 
became sick. The father carried his son, and the mother 
the daughter. The night before they reached Leech Lake 
the boy died and the father continued to carry him. The 
next day the daughter died, and the parents appeared at 
Leech Lake with their dead children on their backs. 


Missionary J. P. Bard well, of Cass Lake, in his report 
to the U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, refers to the 
most shocking case of cannibalism that he ever heard of. 

An Indian west of Cass Lake, with his wife, and two 
daughters, and son-in-law, had killed and eaten fifteen per- 
sons, most of whom were their own children and grandchil- 
dren. A writer in the Minnesota Democrat, under date of 
July 29, 1851, gives a more particular account. He writes: 
"They were reduced to a starving condition, and the 
mothers commenced killing and eating their children. 
They fed voraciously upon the flesh, and became passion- 
ately fond of it." After all of the children had been des- 
patched but a boy of eighteen years, "in the latter part of 
winter, his mother called him to her, and requested him to 

j put his head in her lap, under pretence of desiring to look 
for vermin. The boy complied. The mother had some 

! molten lead which she poured into his ear, and killed him. 
His cries of agony alarmed the old people. The old man 
told his w^ife to go and see what was the matter. She 
went and looked into the door of the lodge, and there saw 
the woman with the body of the boy on the fire, singeing 
his hair off. She said to her 'come in and get some; it 
is good.'" 


On the 9th of April, 1853, a party of Ojibways killed a 
Sioux, at Shakopee, and then Sioux from Kaposia killed 
I an Ojibway in the valley of the Saint Croix River. 

On the morning of the 27th, some Ojibways could have 
been seen lurking on the elevation, behind the marsh in 
Saint Paul, now filled with railways and warehouses. Per- 
ceiving a canoe of Sioux coming up the river from Kapo- 
sia, they hurried to the neighborhood of Third and Jack- 
son Streets, and saw the Sioux land from their canoe, walk 
up Jackson Street, and go into a trading house, which 



stood at the southeast corner of those streets. As they 
entered, the Ojibwaj's fired and mortally wounded a Sioux 
woman. A Sioux, who had lost a leg in a fight several 
years before, seizing a gun in the store, pursued the foe a 
short distance. 

Messengers were despatched to Fort Snelling, and a 
party of dragoons under Lt. W. B. Magruder were soon in 
pursuit of the Ojibways, who were overtaken the next day 
at the Falls of Saint Croix. The dragoons fired upon 
them, and an Ojibway was killed. His scalp was brought 
to Saint Paul and photographed. An engraving from the 
photograph soon after appeared in Graham's Magazine, 
published in Philadelphia. 


A treaty was made in 1854, by which the Ojibways of 
Lake Superior ceded the region "beginning at a point 
where the east branch of Snake River crosses the southern 
boundary line of the Chippewa country, running thence 
up the said branch to its source; thence nearly north, in a 
straight line, to the mouth of the East Savannah River; 
thence up the Saint Louis River to the mouth of East 
Swan River; thence up the East Swan River to its source; 
thence in a straight line to the most westerly bend of Ver- 
milion River; and thence down the Vermilion River to 
its mouth." 

TREATY OF 1855. 

In 1855, an important treaty was made at Washington 
between the Pillager and Lake Winnibigoshish Ojibways. 
By one of its provisions a patent for a section of land was 
to be given to Pug-o-na-ke-shick or Hole-in- the-Day. 


Early on Thursday morning, May 27, 1858, a: party of 
Mille Lacs Ojibways, numbering about one hundred and 


fifty, appeared opposite the Sioux village, not far from the 
town of Shakopee, on the Minnesota River. A Sioux, who 
was fishing on the banks of the stream, was shot and 
scalped, and then the infuriated Sioux began to cross the 
river at Major Murphy's ferry, and in the open meadows 
came in contact with their old foes. Three Ojibways were 
killed in the fight and one died, near Lake Minnetonka. 
About ten o'clock in the morning the rest withdrew. 
Seven of the wounded arrived at the Falls of Saint An- 
thony that night. Doctors Murphy and Rankin visited 
them. One had been shot by an ounce ball, in the lower 
jaw, which also carried away a portion of the tongue. A 
chief of Mille Lacs, known as Wah-de-nah, was shot above 
the knee and the bone splintered. The others had wounds 
that were not serious. On Friday afternoon, they were 
placed on board the steamboat Enterprise, which ran above 
the Falls toward their homes. 


On the eighteenth of August, 1862, the uprising of the 
Sioux against the whites began at Red Wood agency, on 
the Minnesota River, and led to the massacre of more than 
five hundred of the defenceless men, women, and children 
of the frontier. It is worthy of note, that on that very 
day, the Ojibways at Gull Lake arrested several white 
persons, and talked about attacking the agency, then in 
charge of Major L. C. Walker. The next morning, agent 
W alker left for Crow Wing, and met troops coming from 
Fort Ripley. Returning with them, the Gull Lake chief 
was arrested. Walker again left for Saint Cloud, to con- 
sult with the U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, on his 
way to Grand Forks, on the Red River of the Is orth, to 
make a treaty with the Ojibways of that region. Mean- 
while, the Ojibways of Leech Lake had risen, held all the 
whites but two, seven in number, prisoners, and brought 




them down to Gull Lake, where they were released. 
Agent Walker, on his way to Saint Cloud, under excite- 
ment, committed suicide. IT. S. Commissioner Dole aban- 
doning his journey to Grand Forks, came to Fort Eipley, 
with a military escort. He proposed to Hole-in- the-Day 
that there should be a council at Fort Ripley, but the 
chief declined to come. It was then arranged that there 
should be a conference at Crow Wing. On the 12th of 
September, the house of Hole-in-the-Day was burned by 
two white men, who were indignant at his course. The 
same night, about ten o'clock, three Ojibway chiefs, and 
three warriors, from Leech Lake, left the hostile camp, 
crossed the river, and conferred with the acting Indian 
agent. The night of the 13th, they went back to Ilole- 
in-the-Day's camp, and the morning of the 14th returned 
with their families. 

In council with the authorities of the United States, 
Wasec, a Pillager brave, said: "My father, I am not afraid 
to tell you the name of the one who led us to do wrong 
to the whites. It was Hole-in-the-Day who caused us to 
go astray by his bad advice. He sent messengers through 
to the lake, saying that our Great Father intended to send 
men, and take all Indians and dress them like soldiers, and 
send them away to fight in the south ; and if we wish to 
save ourselves we must rise and fight the whites, and take 
them and their goods from the lake. The next day, after 
we had robbed our traders, another messenger arrived 
from Hole-in-the-Day, saying the white soldiers had shot 
at him, and in revenge wished us to kill all the whites at 
the lake, but our chiefs said, ]^o; if Hole-in-the-Day 
wishes to kill the whites, let him commence first." 

After this defection, upon the part of the Pillagers, 
Hole-in-the-Day became quiet and reasonable. 1 

1 Report of U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1862. 




On the 11th of March, 1863, a treaty was concluded hy 
which the Mississippi, and the Pillager, and Lake Winni- 
bigoshish bands of Ojibways relinquished Gull Lake and 
other reservations, and accepted the region, "beginning at 
a point, one mile south of the most southerly point of 
Leech Lake ; thence easterly to a point, one mile south of 
the most southerly point of Goose Lake ; thence due east 
to a point due south from the intersection of the Poka- 
gomin reservation and the Mississippi River; thence on 
the dividing line between Deer River Lakes and Mash- 
korclens River and Lakes, until a point is reached north 
of Deer River Lakes; thence in a direct line northwesterly 
to the outlet of the Two Routes Lake ; thence in a south- 
westerly direction to Karbekaun River; thence down said 
river to the lake of the same name ; thence due south to a 
point due west from the beginning ; thence to the place of 


The Red Lake and Pembina Ojibways on the 2d of Oc- 
tober, 1863, by treaty, ceded the lands, "beginning at the 
point where the international boundary between the 
United States and the British Possessions intersects the 
shores of the Lake of the Woods ; thence in a direct line 
southwestwardly to the head of Thief River ; thence down 
the main channel of said Thief River to its mouth on the 
Red Lake River ; thence in a southeasterly direction, in a 
direct line towards the head of Wild Rice River, to the 
point where such line would intersect the northwestern 
boundary of the tract ceded by the treaty of February, 
1855 ; thence along the boundary line of said cession to the 
mouth of Wild Rice River ; thence up the main channel 
of the Red River to the mouth of the Shayenne River ; 



thence up its main channel to Poplar Grove ; thence in a 
direct line to the " Place of Stumps/' otherwise called 
Lake Chicot ; thence in a direct line to the head of the 
main branch of Salt Piver ; thence in a direct line due 
north to the point where such line would intersect the in- 
ternational boundary ; thence eastwardly to the place of 

TREATY OF 1864. 

A treaty was made with the Ojibways of the Mississippi 
on May 7, 1864, by which reservations were to be selected 
for the different bands, on the Upper Mississippi, and 
therein; $5000 was allowed Hole-in-the-Day for the burning 
of his house during the troubles of 1862. 

' TREATY OF 1866. 

The Bois Forte Ojibways on April 7, 1866, concluded a 
treaty by which they ceded all their lands around Lake 


In 1864 the younger Hole-in-the-Day succeeded in cap- 
tivating a young white woman employed at the National 
Hotel, Washington, and she accompanied him to his log 
house, near Crow Wing, and became the companion of his 
Indian wives. During the morning of the 27th of June, 
1868, he went in a buggy to the Indian agency two miles 
distant, and from thence to Crow Wing. While returning, 
and passing a thicket near the agency, some of his tribe 
who disliked him, appeared, and one shot him. The 
wound was fatal, and he fell from the buggy and died. 
After taking his blanket and the valuables on his person, 
they rode in the buggy to his house, and announced to his 
wives that the chief had been killed. One or two went 




up stairs to the loft where the bahe of the white wife was 
sleeping, but the child was not molested. They ransacked 
the house and took what they wanted, and left with a 
horse for Leech Lake. 

The chief was buried in the Roman Catholic churchyard 
at Crow Wing. His son by his white wife was adopted 
by a family in Minneapolis, and educated in the public 
schools, and is now an intelligent youth. His mother 
afterwards married a white man by the name of Sullivan 
who was not as kind to her as Hole-in-the-Day. 


The Ojibways of Minnesota are on three reservations at 
Red Lake, Leech Lake, and White Earth. The Pembina 
band live eighteen miles north of the White Earth agency, 
and the Otter Tail Pillagers dwell about eight miles east 
of the agency. There are also some Ojibways in the north- 
eastern portion of the State. According to the report of 
U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1883, their num- 
bers were as follows : — 


Mississippi Ojibways 896 

Otter Tail Pillagers 570 

Pembina band 235 
Pillagers of Lakes Cass and Winnebagoshish 351 
Leech Lake 1137 

Mississippi 95 

Mille Lacs 894 


Red Cliff 188 

Bois Forte 700 

Grand Portage, Lake Superior 236 

Fond du Lac 431 




Soon after, the refugee Hurons and Ottawas retired from 
Northern Wisconsin, the Ojibways by way of Montreal 
and Bois Brule Rivers, entered the country about the 
sources of the Black, Chippewa, and Saint Croix Rivers, 
and occupied the old plantations (vieux deserts) of the Ot- 
tawa Lakes, Lac Court Oreilles, and Lac du Flambeau. 
Court Oreilles band number 841 
Lac du Flambeau " 480 
Bad River " 460 


The establishment of a central trading post in 1701, at 
Detroit, led some of the Ojibways to hunt and fish on the 
shores of Lake Huron, especially about Saginaw Bay. 
Jonathan Carver who visited the country in 1766, men- 
tions 1 that the promontory between Lakes Huron and 
Michigan was divided "between the Ottowaw and Chipe- 
way Indians," and on another page writes: "A great num- 
ber of the Chipeway Indians live scattered around this 
lake [Huron], particularly near Saginaw Bay." 

The Indian agency at Mackinaw in 1883 reported : — 
Ojibways of Saginaw and vicinity 2500 
Lake Superior bands 1000 
Mixed with Ottawas 6000 


. By the treaty of Utrecht, concluded in 1713, it was 
agreed that England should retain possession of all the 
posts of Hudson's Bay, and to keep the Indians of Lake 
Superior from trading with the English, at the north, it 
became necessary for the French to revive their posts at 

1 Carver's Travels, London, 1778, page 147. 



!N"epigon, and Michipicoton. As traders appeared along 
the north shore, some of the Ojibways who had lived at 
Sault Ste. Marie settled near them, and gradually spread 
over what is now the Dominion of Canada. 

The Canadian Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the 
year ending June 30, 1883, estimates the Ojibway popula- 
tion as follows: — 


Ojibways and Ottawas of Manitoulin and Cockburn 

Islands 1673 

Ojibways of Lake Huron " 2934 

" • " Georgian Bay 685 

" " Lake Superior 1883 
" " Garden River near Sault Ste. Marie and 

Batchewana Bay 725 

" " Beau Soleil 313 

" " Xawash 397 

" " Saugeen, County Bruce 368 

" " Rama, County Ontario 247 

" " Snake Island, Lake Simcoe 135 

" " Sarnia, etc. 485 
" with Ottawas and Pottawattamies of Wal- 

pole Island, River St. Clair 789 

" with Munsees of the Thames 582 


The Ojibways did not dare to hunt in the valley of the 
Red River of the Korth, until the Northwest Company es- 
tablished posts at Pembina, Park River, and Red Lake 
River. They were then introduced as hunters, but the 
Crees and Assineboines, to whom the country belonged, 
looked upon them as intruders. In what is now Minne- 
sota, at the junction of the Red Lake River, and the Red 
River of the £Torth known as the Grand Fork, Thomas, 



Earl Selkirk on July 3, 1817, made a treaty with the 
Crees or Knistineaux, and the " Chippewa or Saulteaux." 

The Ojibways being a party in this treaty, Ross 1 writes, 
"gave great umbrage to the Crees, who in consequence 
have repeatedly threatened to drive them back to their old 
haunts about Lake Superior." 

In the census of 1883, they are computed with the Crees, 
and enumeration is therefore omitted. 

1 The Bed River Settlement, by Alexander Ross. London, 1856, p. 12. 


Gen. H. H. SIBLEY. 

1st. Hon. ALEX. RAMSEY. 2d. Capt. R. BLAKELEY. 





His Excellency, L. F. Hubbakd, Governor. 

The Hon. Chakles A. Gilman, Lieutenant-Governor. 

The Hon. F. Von Baumbach, Secretary of State. 

The Hon. W. W. Braden, Auditor of State. 

The Hon. Charles Kittelson, Treasurer of State. 

The Hon. W. J. Hahn, Attorney- General. 


Hon. Samuel E. Adams, Minneapolis. 
Hon. John M. Berry, Minneapolis. 
Capt. Russell Blakeley, St. Paul. 
A. H. Cathcart, Esq., St. Paul. 
J. B. Chaney, Esq., St. Paul. 
W. P. CLOUon, Esq., St. Paul. 
Hon. Gordon E, Cole, Faribault. 
Hon. Fi. F. Drake, St. Paul. 
Hon. C. E. Flandrau, St. Paul. 
Hon. Lewis H. Garrard, Lake City. 
Col. Earle S. Goodrich, St. Paul. 
George A. Hamilton, Esq., St. Paul. 
James J. Hill, Esq., St. Paul. 
Rt. Rev. John Ireland, D.D., St. Paul. 
Gen. R. W. Johnson, St. Paul. 

Hon. TV. G. Le Due, Hastings. 
Hon. John D. Ludden, St. Paul. 
Hon. Wm. R. Marshall, St. Paul. 
Charles E. Mayo, Esq., St. Paul. 
W. W. McNair, Esq., Minneapolis. 
Rev. E. D. Neill, St. Paul. 
Maj. J. P. Pond, St. Paul. 
Hon. Alex. Ramsey, St. Paul. 
Dan. Rohrer, Esq., Worthington. 
Gen. John B. Sanborn, St. Paul. 
Gen. H. H. Sibley, St. Paul. 
R. O. Sweeney, Esq., St. Paul. 
Henry P. Upham, Esq., St. Paul. 
J. Fletcher Williams, St. Paul. 
Hon. H. B. Wilson, Red Wing 




George Bancroft, 

Charles I. Bushnell, 

Gen. J. Watts DePeyster, 

Dean Dudley, 

Gen. John Gibbon, 

Rt. Rev. Thos. L. Grace, D.D., 

Gen. W. S. Hancock, 

Dr. Franklin B. Hough, 

Joseph Jackson Howard, LL.D., 

Prof. H. L. Kendrick, 

Benson J. Lossing, LL.D., 

Sig. Gabriele Rosa, 

Gen. H. S. Sanford, 

John Langdon Sibley, 

Gen. A. H. Terry, 

Rt. Rev. Henry B. Whipple, D.D., 


Lt. Gov. A. G. Archibald, 

Rev. W. S. Alexander, 

C. H. Baker, 

Charles C. Baldwin, 

Xt. Edgar W. Bass, 

Dr. Fred. Theo. Berg, 

Rev. Caleb D. Bradlee, 

R. A. Brock, 

H. Rivett Carnac, 

Robert Clarke, 

Lyman C. Draper, LL.D., 


Newport, R. I. 
New York, N. Y. 
Tivoli, N. Y. 
Boston, Mass. 
U. S. Army. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 
U. S. Army. 
Lowville, N. Y. 
London, Eng. 
West Point, N. Y. 
Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 
Brescia, Italy. 
Jacksonville, Fla. 
Cambridge, Mass. 
U. S. Army. 
Faribault, Minn. 

Halifax, K S. 
Racine, Wis. 
Philadelphia, Pa. 
Cleveland, O. 
U. S. Army. 
Stockholm, Sweden. 
Boston, Mass. 
Richmond, Va. 
Ghazipur, India. 
Cincinnati, O. 
Madison, Wis. 



Benjamin Drew, 

Washington, D. C. 

Daniel S. Durrie, 

Madison, Wis. 

Hon. X. G. Fanshawe, 

Tif»ndnn En or 

H. Buxton Formal), 

Dr. Samuel A. Green, 

Boston, Mass. 

J. J. Ilairaves, 

Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Capt. W. McK. Heath, 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

Frederic A. Holden, 

Washington, D. C. 

Hon. Xhomas Howard, 

Winnipeg, Man. 

Dr. Otis Hoyt, 

Hudson, Wis. 

Caleb W. Iddings, 


Dr. Edward Jarvis, 

Boston, Mass. 

Lt. Alfred B. Johnson, 

U. S. Armv. 

Horatio Gates Jones, 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

Hon. John Jav lvnox, 

New York, N. Y. 

Lt. John A. Lundeun, 

U. S. Armv. 

John A. McAllister, 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

Edward G. Mason, 

Chicago, 111. 

Col. John P. Nicholson, 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

Rev. Russell A. Olin, 

Watertown, N. Y. 

Prof. Xheo. S. Parvin, 

Iowa Citv, Iowa. 

Henry Phillips, Jr., 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

Rev. Charles Rogers, LL.D., 

London, Eng. 

Isaac Smucker, 

Newark, 0. 

Henry Stevens, 

London, Eng. 

Hon. James W. Xavlor, 

Winnipeg, Man. 

El wood E. Xhorne, 

New York. 

Rev. J. F. Tuttle, 

Crawfordsville, Ind. 

Col. Charles Whittlesey, 

Cleveland, O. 

Winslow C. Watson, 

Port Kent, N. 1. 


Hon. Samuel E Adams, 

Minneapolis, Minn. 

Hon. C. C. Andrews, 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

Everett H Bailev 

<« it 

D. A. J. Baker, 

Gen. James H. Baker, 

(( lit 

Hon. William L. Banning, 

tt ii 

Jacob W. Bass, 

tt tt 




Hon. George L. Becker, 
Hon. Peter Berkey, 
Hon. John M. Berry, 
Gen. Judson W. Bishop, 
Capt. Russell Blakeley, 
Dr. Charles H. Board man, 
Rev. David R. Breed, D.D., 
Hon. John B. Brisbin, 
Hon. H. W. Cannon, 
Henry L. Carver, 
Alex. H. Cathcart, 
Josiah B. Chaney, 
Frank B. Clarke, 
Wm. P. Clough, 
Thomas Cochran, Jr., 
Hon. Gordon E. Cole, 
Wm. Constans, 
Hon. William Crooks, 
Judge C. P. Daly, 
Gen. N. J. T. Dana, 
Hon. William Dawson, 
Lyman C. Dayton, 
Hon. F. R. Delano. 
Hon. Elias F. Drake, 
Dr. James II. Dunn, 
D. W. C. Dunwell, 
Hon. E. F. Durant 
Erastus S. Edgerton, 
Samuel S. Eaton, 
Abrani S. Elf el t, 
Charles D. Elf'elt, 
Henry S. Fairchild, 
John Farrington, 
George R. Finch, 
Hon. Charles E. Flandrau, 
Alpheus G. Fuller, 
William C. Gannett, 
Hon. Lewis H. Garrard, 
Hon. Aaron Goodrich, 
Col. Earle S. Goodrich, 
Hon. Henry Hale, 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

<( it 

Minneapolis, Minn. 

Saint Paul, Minn, 
ti ii 
it tt 
ti tt 
ti ii 

Stillwater, Minn. 

Saint Paul, Minn, 
ti it 
ti tt 
tt tt 
tt ti 
n a 

Faribault, Minn. 

Saint Paul, Minn, 
it it 

New York, N. Y. 

Rock Island, 111. 

Saint Paul, Minn, 
tt tt 
t« it 

u t( 

Shakopee, Minn. 

, Montana. 
Stillwater, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

ti it 

tt it 

tt it 

ti tt 

tt tt 

tt tt 

tt tt 

Yankton, D. T. 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

Lake City, Minn. 

Saint Paul, Minn, 
tt tt 
tt tt 



George A. Hamilton, 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

Dr. D. W. Hand, 

ti ti 

V R L Harden bergh, 

it it 

R. F. Hersey, 

Stillwater, Minn. 

James J. Hill, 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

Lyman D. Hodge, 

it a 

A. F. Howes, 

Fort Collins, Colo. 

Rt. Rev. John Ireland, D.D., 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

Harwood Iglehart, 

it a 

Gen. R. W. Johnson. 

a tt 

Hon. John R. Jones, 

Chatfield, Minn. 

P H Kellv 

X. . XX. XVt/Xl> , 

Saint Paul Minn. 

Hon. Norman W. Kittson, 

(( u 

Cr(*c\vcr(* W T ■fimnsnn 

(( CI 

Hon. R. C Lan <r don, 

xTllIllit.rt.pUll>, - f 1 1 1 1 1 1 . 

A. L. Larpenteur, 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

Gen. William G. LeDuc, 

I-f ucfi n <tq Aimn 

C. M. Loring, 

IVTi nnpannlis Alinn 

Hon. A. R. McGill, 

S'tlnf" T*mi1 Alinn 

Uul Lib X (I L41, X'llllllc 

Hon. S. J. R. McMillan, 

tt (i 

W. W. McNair, 

..Txllll!t~clIJ<Jll>, 1TL 11111. 

Capt. Edward IMa^mre, 

11 S _A T , *T1 V 
\_/ . -O. ill til > . 

Hon. William R. Marshall, 

Ssiinf Pmil ATinn 

J Cnlp Martin 

tf . W1C -4..XC11 bill, 

WflaViinn-tnn 1 i C 
f ¥ aalllxlglUll, ±J. \J . 

Hon. John L. Mcrriam, 

Sainf T-*flnl Afinn 

0<xllll- x rtlll, xfxlllll. 

^^illiam R. Mierriam, 

tt tt 

Hnn T)fvriins Afrvrrisnn 

\l"i TtTipo T^nl i j \f i n n 
xTllllllCtt UU11:% ^.>1 11111. 

TTnn Hpnrv 1j AIr»««: 

Sam!" Paul \Tinn 

0»l 1 11 L x aLU, .VI 1 fill. 

Rev. Edward D. Neill, 

Cant A I) Nelson 

Wnshino-i on F) C 

TT aolllll^ lull, IV. vy. 

V/1JC41 1CJ jLi • XI LlOUIi. 

Otlli >Y U IL i , iTxlllll. 

Hon. R. R. Nelson, 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

Stanford Newel, 

tt tt 

Daniel R. Noyes, Jr., 

ti a 

James P. Pond, 

a a 

Hon. John S. Prince, 

a a 

Pennock Pusey, 

n . n 

Hon. Alex. Ramsey, 

tt n 

L. E. Reed, 

tt a 

Hon. Edmund Rice, 

tt a 

Hon. Henry M. Rice, 

It 4 tt 



Rev. J. G. RiheldaiTer, D.D., 

Col. I). A. Robertson, 

Hon. L. Z. Rogers, 

Hon. Dwight M. Sabin, 

Gen. John B. Sanborn, 

Edward Sawyer, 

Hon. D. B. Searle, 

J. S. Sewall, 

Albert Scheffer, 

D. C. Shepard, 

Gen. Henry H. Sibley, 

Robert A. Smith, 

Truman M. Smith, 

Hon. Henry M. Smythc, 

John B. Spencer, 

A. B. Stickney, 

George C. Stone, 

Charles D. Strong, 

John Summers, 

Robert O. Sweeny, 

Hon. Geo. W. Sweet, 

M. C. Tuttle, 

Henry P. Upham, 

Capt. D. H. Valentine, 

Hon. C. E. Vanderburgh, 

John Esaias Warren, 

Hon. Wm. D. Washburne, 

Joseph A. Wheelock, 

Hon. Miio White, 

Joel E. Whitney, 

A. H. Wilder, * 

Hon. Westcott Wilkin, 

Hon. Morton S. Wilkinson, 

J. Fletcher Williams, 

Charles L. Willis, 

Hon. Harvey B. Wilson, 

Prof. N. H.*Winchell, 

James M. Winslow, 

Hon. George B. Young, 

Saint Paul, Minn. 

it 44 

Waterville, Minn. 
Stillwater, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

44 it 

Saint Cloud, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

























Sauk Rapids, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

4 4 4 4 

44 44 

Minneapolis, Minn. 
Chicago, 111. 
Minneapolis, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 
Chatfield, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

44 4 4 

44 44 

Wells, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

44 44 

Red Wing, Minn. 
Minneapolis, Minn. 
San Francisco, Cal. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 




Thomas G. Carter, 
Prof. J. J. Dow, 
Louis E. Fisher, 
Emil Geist, 
M. O. Hall, 
George lie is, 
G. O. Robertson, 

Saint Peter, Minn. 
Faribault, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn, 
ti it 

Granite Falls, Minn. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

ti 41 


Aboinug (Roasters), Ojibway name 

for Dakotas, 36, 95, 103 
Achipoue (Ojibway), 398, 408 
Adam, progenitor of the race, 55, 58 
Adders, Ojibway name for Dakotas 

and Six Nations, 72, 83 
Adoption, as brothers, 269 
Agriculture attempted by Indians, 

40, 97 

Ah-ah-wauk, clan or Totem. See 

Ah-mous (Little Bee), Ojibway chief, 

47, 192, 319 
Aish-ke-bug-e-koshe. See Flat Mouth. 
Ais-sance (Little Clam), Ojibway 

chief, 47, 354 
Aitkin, Alfred, killed, 484 
Aitkin, Miss Matilda (Mrs. W. W. 

Warren), 14, 16 
Aitkin, William A., 14, 115, 382, 

383, 483, 489, 497 
Aitkinsville, Minn., 384 
Askin, Mr., British agent, 373, 375 
A-ke-guiow, Ojibway chief, 192, 317 
Ako (or Accault), Michael, 156 
Algic race, or family, 25, 30, 31, 34, 

41, 43, 60, 62, 138, 146, 147 
Algonquin tribe, 30, 117, 118, 124 
Allouez, Claude, 115, 116, 404. 408, 

464, 471 

America, how peopled originally, 60 
American Board of Foreign Missions, 

American Fur Company, 12, 140, 229 

American government, mismanage- 
ment of Indians, 135 

American people, responsibility on 
them, 23, 31 

Amherst, Gen., 439 

Amikouets, 403, 413 

Andre, Jesuit missionary, 408 

Analogies between Hebrews and 
Algics, 53, 65, 67, 75 

Ance-ke-we~naw, 38, 382, 392 
Ancient mines. See " Copper." 
Anderson, Thomas Gr., Pottawatomie 

trader, 32 
Andreani, Count, 446 
Anglo-Saxons, sweeping away red 

race, 23 

Anguemance, Ojibway chief, 455 
Animals, totems taken from, 42 
An-ish-in-aub-ag, tradition about, 

An-ish-in-aub-ag, other references, 
37, 56, 57, 67, 68, 81 
I Apostle's Islands, 405 
| Apple River, Wis., Indian fight at, 
! 499 

j Arickarees, 160, 179 

! Armatinger [or Ermitinger], Eng- 

| lish trader, 384, 460 

I Arrows, 277, 27S 

j Arms and weapons, 98, 126. See, 

j also, Fire Arms. 

I Ashmun, Samuel, fur trader, 384 

i Asiatic origin of American Indians, 

! 61, 62, 71, 72, 74 

j Askin, John, report of, 460 

i Asseninoels Lake, 423 

! Assineboines, 84, 138, 140, 179, 184, 

| 189, 261, 262, 323, 356, 37S, 379 

! Astor Fur Company, 382, 383, 384. 

! 385 

I Astor, John Jacob, 383, 3S5, 386 
Atlantic Ocean, Ojibway emigration 
j from, 76, 79 

; Au-daig-we (Crow's Flesh), Ojibway 
! chief, 317 

I A-waus-e Clan, or Totem, 10, 44, 46, 
| 99, 164, 165, 212, 256, 334 
j A-wish-toy-ah (Blacksmith), French 
| trader, 275 

I Ayer, Rev. Frederic, missionary, 11, 

| 406 

| Ayer, Mrs. Elizabeth T., 11, 20, 407 




Ba-be-sig-aun-dib-ay (or Ba-ba-see- 

keen-da-se). See Curly Head. 
Bad River, 117, 243, 252 
Badge, or symbol, 42, 45 
Bagouache trading post, 417 
Baker, B. F., post of, 487 
Baldness among Ojibways, 46 
Ball game (Baug-ah-ud-o-way), 201, 

202, 265, 359 
Balloqnet, Jesuit missionary, 409 
Bancroft, Geo., quoted, 90, 115, 116, 

Baraga, Bishop, Ojibway missionary, 

Bardwell, J. P., Ojibway missionary, 

Baribaud, early trader, 411 

Barrett, trader, killed, 4(57 

Battle customs, naked, etc., 84, 244 

Battle Lake, 338, 342, 360 

Battles with Foxes, on Lake Supe- 
rior, 105 ; with Munduas, 91 ; with 
Iroquois, 147 ; witli Odugaruies, 
152; of St. Croix Falls. 242, 245, 
250, 254, 330, 351 ; of Elk River, 
50, 238, 240 ; of Rum River, 50, 
489 ; on Point Shagawaumikong, 
103; at Mille Lacs, 161 ; at Point 
Prescott, 169, 219 ; do. at Sandy 
Lake, 227, 235 ; do. at Crow 
Wing, 230, 233, 235 ; do. at Prairie 
Rice Lake, 312; do. on Sunrise 
River, 328 ; do. at Willow River, 
329 ; do. at Battle Lake, 338 ; do. 
at Pembina, 354 ; do. at Cross 
Lake, 351, 353 ; do. at Long 
Prairie, 353, 358, 359, 360 ; do. 
at Goose River, 364; do. on West- 
ern Prairie, 388 ; do. at Stillwater, 
489 ; do. at Pokeguma, 491 ; do. 
at Kaposia, 493 ; do. at Shakopee, 

Baug-ah-ud-o-way, or ball, 201, 202, 
265, 359 

Bear Totem, 45, 49, 86, 87, 99, 124, 
176, 185, 191, 254, 256, 266, 335 

Beardash, eccentric Ojibway, 452 

Beaubassin, Hertel de, 430, 431 
Beauharnois, Governor of Canada, 

Beauleau, Bazille, 381, 382 
Beaver trade, 176, 415, 418 
Be-dud, Ojibway warrior, 346 
Belcourt on the word Ojibway, 399 

Bell, trader, 280, 289 
Bell, Mrs., kills the negro ''Tom," 

Belle Prairie, Minn., 11 

Bellin, the geographer, quoted, 1(34 

Be-na, Ojibway warrior, 355 

Berkshire, Mass., 9 

Berthot, Colin, killed by Ojibways, 

Be-she-ke (Buffalo), 49 
Beujeu de Ville Monde, 431 
Bi-a-jig (Ojibway warrior), 331, 332, 

Bi-aus-wah (Ojibway warrior), 127, 

222, 236, 240, 241, 347, 349 
Bi-aus-wah (No. 2), 176, 183, 185 
Bible, Holy, quoted, 46, 55, 58, 59, 

60, 62, 65 
Bible stories, similarity to Ojibway 

traditions, 70 
Big Foot. See Ma-mong-e-se-do. 
Big Marten (Ke-che-waub-ish-ashe), 

Ojibwav warrior, 50, 236, 239, 240 
Big Ojibway (chief), 305 
Birch bark canoes, how made, etc., 

40, 473 
Birch trees, 175 

Bison, hunting the, 40, 97, 175, 266, 


Black Dog (Ojibway warrior), 387 
| Black Dog village, 156 
j Black Duck (Ojibway warrior), 364 
I Black Feet, the, 33, 34, 6S, 70 
i Black Hawk, 32 

Black Hawk war, 136 

Blood for blood, Ojibway custom, 
139, 367 

Blue Eagle (Ojibway warrior), 361 

Bois Forts Band, 39, 45, 85, 378 

Boisquillot, early trader, 413 

Bonga, fur trader, 3S1 

Bonga, George, 488 

Bonga, Jean, a negro slave, 4S8 

Bonga, Pierre, 488 

Bonga, Stephen, 488 

Bostwick, Henry, British trader, 209 

Boucher, Marie, 427 

Boucher, Pierre, 98, 403, 427 " 

Bougainville, describes western 

posts, 429 
Bourbon River, 414 
Boudinot, Elias, quoted, 62 
Boutwell, Rev. W. T., Ojibway mis- 
sionary, 11, 12, 20, 62, 406, 478, 
482, 484 




Boweting, Mich. See Sault Ste. 

Bow-it-ig-o-win-in (Ojibway war- 
rior), 289 

Bradstreet, General, 217, 441 

Breche-dent. See Broken Tooth. 

Bridger, John, at Hudson's Bay, 414 

Brin ton, D. G., quoted, 42 

British fur traders, hire American 
clerks, 9 

British, The, 32, 146 ; receive Ca- 
nada, 195 ; their influence ended 
by Pike, 349 

Broken Tooth (Ojibway chief), 349, 
350, 365, 366, 459, 477, 494 

Brother, adoption as, 269 

Bruce, Ojibway half-breed, 281 

Bruce, Mr., fur trader, 381 

Brule, Stephen, early voyageur, 399 

Brunette, Francis, 484 

Brunett, Jean, 12, 390, 391 

Branson, Rev. Alfred, quoted, 10, 
11, 14, 495 

Bruske, trader, 451 

Buade, Lake. See Mille Lacs. 

Buffaloes. See Bison. 

Buffalo (an Ojibway chief), 464 

Bug-aun-auk (Ojibway warrior), 

Bulger, Capt., 461 
Bunker Hill, Gen. Warren's death, 9 
Burial customs of Ojibways, 72 
Burning captives, 36, 82,* 95, 107 
Burning grass, at Elk River fight, 

Burnt Wood River, 252 

Burr, Aaron, 442 

Bus-in-au-see. See Crane Totem. 

Cadeau (Cadotte), Mons., 10, 212, 

Cadillac, La Mothe, on Hurons and 

Ottawas, 405, 407 
Cadillac, describes Mackinaw, 417 ; 

succeeds Louvigny, 420 
Cadottes, their ancestrv, 10, 378 
Cadotte, J. B., Sr., 10, 116, 131, 195, 
. 210, 212, 215, 220, 279, 290, 299. 

304, 334, 336, 337, 378, 381, 433, 

440, 448 
Cadotte, Mrs. J. B., Sr., 10, 296 
Cadotte, J. B., Jr., 10, 11, 213, 372, 

449, 451 
Cadotte, Joseph, 450 
Cadotte, Louis, 490 

Cadotte, Michel, Sr., 9, 10, 11, 96, 
111, 131, 145. 213, 282, 299, 320, 
321, 323, 324, 326, 372, 381, 384, 

Cadotte, Mrs. Michel, Sr., 282, 296, 

Cadotte, Michel, Jr., 372, 373, 375, 

Cahokias, 218 

Calhoun, Hon. John C, 464 

Cameron, trader, 281 

Canada, 31, 37, 155, 195, 368, 372, 


Caniengas, 42 

Cannibalism, among Ojibways, 109, 

Canoes, how made, etc., 40, 98, 105, 
473, 288 

Captives, roasting to death, 36, 82, 

95, 106, 107 
Cardonniere, French trader, 411 
Carter, Jacques, 90 

Carver, Jonathan, 442, 508 

Cass, Gov. Lewis, 47, 317, 392, 462, 
463, 468, 470, 471 

Cass Lake, 38, 175, 178, 183, 185, 
224, 225, 2S1, 326, 336 

Catawbeta. See Broken Tooth. 

Catfish Totem, 45, 86, 87, 185, 318 

Catlin, George, Indian portrait pain- 
ter, 114, 490 

Census, of Ojibwa tribe, 39 

Ceremonies, Medawe, foolish, 67, 77 

Cession of Canada. 378 

Chabouillez, Charles, trader, 381, 
451, 452 

Chagouamigon, Shagawaumikong,or 
La Pointe, 48, 86, 88, 91, 95, 

96, 102, 103, 104, 109, 115, 116, 
123, 126, 130, 132, 167, 189, 219, 
221, 243, 253, 254, 280, 323, 325, 
331 ; first traders at, 402, 403 ; 
described by Allouez, 404; bark 
chapel at, 404, 406 ; Indians at, 
405 ; early notice of, 405 ; aban- 
doned by missionaries, 407 ; L« 
Sueur at, 419 : St. Pierre at, 423 ; 
Luictot at, 423 ; La Ronde at, 426 

Champlain, quoted, 98 ; his map, 

I Champlin, sailing master, 460 
Chaouanou. See Shawnees. 
Charatte, fur trader, 382 
Chesne, Indian leader, 432 
Che-suh-yauh, Ojibway chief, 48 




Chevrottiere, Sieur de la, 408 
Cheyenne River, Indian fight at, 453 J 
Chianokwut, Ojibway chief, 477 
Chicago, 111., 32 

Chingouabe, Ojibway chief, 420,421 j 
Chippeway, incorrect spelling of 

" Ojibway," which see. 
Chippeway (Saulteurs) River, on 

Franqnelin's map of 1683, 408 
Chippeway River, Wis., 12, 38, 39, 

49, 50, 129, 149, 181, 190, 192, 

219, 292, 299, 319, 300, 301, 302, | 
* 304, 305, 308, 317, 320, 321, 326, 


Chippeway Citv, Wis., 12 

Chippewav Falls, Wis., 12 

Chippeway Mills, Wis., 3US 

Chouart. See Groseilliers. 

Christineaux, 422, 424, 423 

Chronology, of the Ojibways, 

CLairvoyance among Indians, 

Cl,ark, Gov., 468 

Clark, Capt. Nathan, 474 

Clarkson, N. Y., 12 

Coats of arms (Totems), 35 

Colbert, 99 

Conner, Patrick, 384 

Convocation of tribes at Sault Ste 
Marie, 316 

Conspiracy of Pontiac. See Pontiac. 

Copper, 40, 98, 141, 221, 392; found 
by voyagers of Groseilliers, 404 ; j 
worked by Indiana, 404; mine near | 
Chagouamigon, 424; superstitions I 
about, 472 ; early notices of, 400, | 
404, 471 

Corbin, John Me, trader, 145, 321, 

325, 381, 382, 383. 390 
Cormorant Point (Mille Lacs), 160 I 
Cotte, trader, 381, 3S2, 383 
Coureurs du bois, 10 
Coutouse, Mons, clerk, 294, 295, j 


Crane Totem, 44, 45, 46, 47, 86, 88, j 

99, 124, 131, 192, 316, 317, 318, | 

348, 375, 392 
Crawford, English trader, 460 
Crees, The. See Kenistenoag . 
Cresafi, chevalier, 420 
Cross Lake (Sa-sub-a-gum-aw), 348 
Crow River, 235, 272 
Crow Wing, battle of, 162 
Crow Wing, mentioned, 14, 69, 178, 

180, 217, 266, 271, 344, 345, 348, 

352, 364, 381 

Crow Wing River, 33, 222. 224, 229, 

257, 263, 266, 275, 282, 326, 349 
Crucifix, ancient, found at Bad 

River, 117 
Curly Head (Ba-be-sig-aun-dib-ayj, 

Ojibway chief, 47, 348, 349, 350, 

352, 366, 469, 470, 495 
Customs, analogy between Jews and 

Ojibways, 53, 65, 67, 68, ijo 

D'Ablon, Jesuit missionary, 408 
Dakotas, or Sioux, called '-Roasters" 
by the Ojibways, 36; their lands 
conquered by the Ojibways, 38 ; 
the toteraic system not known 
among them. 43, Gl ; called "Nau- 
dowasewig" by Ojibways, 72 ; also 
as "Aboinug" (Roasters), 95 ; ig- 
norant of firearms, 120, 126; Da- 
kota legend of warrior slain at 
Crow Wing, 232 ; they attack a 
French trader's house, 277; attack 
J. B. Cadotte's post, 283: claim 
to be better fighters on the prairie 
than Ojibways, 312 ; various re- 
ferences to, 3, 43, 47, 49, 50, 61, 

62, 72, 83, 84, 91, 96, 101, 102, 
106, 108, 115, 120, 126, 127, 130, 
138, 140, 146, 148, 153, 155, 156, 
158, 159, 160, 162, 163, 176, 183, 
1S7, 188, 193, 219, 223, 235, 242, 
244, 250, 254, 267, 268, 271, 275, 
280, 282, 303, 305, 308, 310, 320, 
327, 331, 338, 344, 351, 354, 356, 
358, 360, 364, 370, 387, 410, 42S, 
476, 482, 486, 489, 491, 499 

Daumont, Sieur du Lusson. 10 

Davenport, Col. O. S. A., 483 

Dead River (Ne-bo-se-be), 140, 261 

Dease, F. M», trader, 465 

De Bonne, Capt., 433 

De Chairgny, Francois, 408 

D'Esprit Pierre. See Radisson. 

De Callieres, 415 

Default, a trader, 450 

Deity, the Ojibway idea of, 55, 59, 

63, 64 

De la Chaise, French priest, 414 
De la Durantaye, 415, 418 
De la Ferte, 413 

De la tour, Jesuit missionary, 413 
Delawares, 32, 56 
De Lorimer, 432 
Deluge, Noachic, 55, 56 
De Mantlet, 413 



Denonville, on copper, 472 

De Moraniport Da Plessis, 431 

De Ramelia at Nepigon, 431 

De Repentigny, 413 

De Sirtet, missionary, 68 

Detroit, Mich., 32, 33, 126, 149, 153, 

194, 205, 214, 216, 217, 218, 322, 

323, 372, 3S4 
Detroit Gazette, quoted, 145 
De Vaudreuil, dispatch of, 422 
D'Iberville quoted, 33 
Dickson, Col. Robert, 362, 363, 369, 

370, 371, 460, 461, 465 
Dingley, Daniel, trader, 384 
Disease, how cured and prevented, 


Divisions and subdivisions among 

Ojibways, 41 
Do-daim. See Totem. 
Dodge, Henry, Indian Commissioner, 


Dole, Maj.j Indian commissioner, 

Domestic and chase implements of 

Ojibways, 97 
Doty, James D., 462 
Draper, Dr. Lyman C, quoted, 439 
Dress of Ojibways, 98 
Dreuilletes, Jesuit, 408 
Drew, John, fur trader, 383 
Drummond's Isle, 116 
Drunkenness among Ojibways, 31, 

120, 301 
Duchene, trader, 382 
Duchesneau, intendant of Canada, 


Dugay, a Picard, 156 

Du Lusson, Sieur, 131, 212 

Duluth, Daniel, quoted, 162; near 
Sault Ste. Marie, 409 ; erects trad- 
ing post at Kamanistigua, 409 ; 
descends St. Croix River, 410 ; 
visits France, 410 ; memoir by, 
410 ; prepares to visit Sioux, 410 ; 
executes two Ojibways, 413, 414; 
at Niagara, 415 ; erects Fort St. 
Joseph, 415 ; fights the Senecas, 

Du Quesne, Gov. of Canada, 429, 

Duvant, trader, 382 
Dutch, in New York, 146 

Ea3t Savannah River, 177, 180 
Eel River, Ind., 33 

j Elk River, 236, 238, 240 
I Elk River, battles at, 50, 238, 240 
j Ely, E. P., mission teacher, 493 
j Emigration of Ojibways from Asia, 

| Emigration of Ojibways from Atlantic 
Ocean, 76, 79 
Engelran, Jesuit missionary, 410, 

English, Mrs. Mary (Warren), 12, 


Esch-ke-bug-e-coshe. See Flat Mouth. 

Etheriiigton, Maj., 201 

Etienne, Claude. 401 

Execution of Indian murderer, 389 

Families or clans, totemic, 34 

Family register, Ojibway, 89 

Family, known by badge, 42 

Fasts, 64, 65, 66, 100 

Feasts, sacrificial, 100 

Ferry, Rev. William, 406, 478 

Findley, trader, killed by Ojibwavs, 

390, 393, 467 
Firearms introduced among Ojib- 
wavs, 36, 108, 119, 120, 138, 161, 
223, 277, 278 
Fire, torture by, 36, 82, 95, 106, 107 
Fire, continual, kept up on La Pointe 

Island, 99 
Fire water, first giveu to Indians, 

I First post erected by whites, 137 

I Fishing, Ojibways lived by, at La 
Pointe, 97 
Flat Mouth (Esch-ke-bug-e-coshe), 
Ojibwav cbief, 17, 19, 45, 50, 138, 
178, 179, 223, 269, 275, 324, 342, 
343, 349, 350, 352, 359, 360, 362, 

j 363, 369, 459, 463, 465, 466, 475, 

j 476, 478, 479, 480 
Fletcher, Gen. J. E., Indian agent, 

Folles Avoines. See Menominees. 

Fond du Lac, 14, 50, 81, 84, 130, 
134, 158, 160, 176, 177, 252, 260, 
262, 281, 2S2, 288, 292, 294, 295, 
382, 383, 389, 392, 393 

Food, how got by Ojibways, 40 

Forsyths, fur traders, 380 

Fort Bourbon, 429 

Fort Dauphin, 429 

Fort Des Prairies, 430 

Fort Detroit, 201 

Fort Du Quesne, 194 



Fort Erie, 218 

Fort Howard, 372, 374, 376 

Fort Jonquiere, 429 

Fort La Reine, 429 

Fort Mackinaw (or Michilirnakinae), 

capture of, 200, 204, 210, 21^, 217, 


Fort Niagara, 217, 416 
Fort Poskoyac, 429 
Fort Repentigny, 435 
Fort Ripley, 266 

Fort Snelling, 156, 365, 367, 390, 

391, 474, 476, 485 
Fort St. Antoine, 419 
Fort St. Charles, 429 
Fort St. Croix, 411 
Fort St. Joseph, 416 
Fort St. Pierre, 429 
Fourcelle, Chevalier, 411 
Foxes. See Odugamies. 
Fox River, Wis., 32, 192, 242 
France, 99, 378 
Franks, a trader, 460 
Franquelin's map (16S8), quoted, 

155, 321, 401, 404 
French (Canadian), 116, 117, 130, 

131, 137, 141, 146, 153, 163, 164, 

220, 316, 373 
French, the name the Ojihwavs called 

them, 116 
French cession of North America, 

194, 195 

French intermarried largely with 
Ojibways, 132, 133, 195, 198 

Frobisher, fur trader, .JS0 

Frontenac, Count, Gov. of Canada, 
155, 163 ; feasts Indians, 417 ; in 
counc'l with Ojibways, 421 ; cen- 
sures Le Boesme, 409 

Fur trade, the, 9, 125, 130, 134 

Fur trade, the, its palmy days, 380, 

Fur traders on Lake Superior, 378, 

Fur traders, change in personnel, 

Future life, Ojibway ideas of, 73 

Gage, General, his estimate of 

Rogers, 442, 443 
Gallinee, a Sulpitian at Sault Ste. 

Marie, 406 
Game, abundance of, once, 97, 266 
Game, how hunted by the Ojibways, 


Gamelle's wife killed by Ojibways, 

Garland, Major U. S. A., 475 
Gaston, Jean Baptiste, 397 
Ga-ta-ge-te-gaun-ing(Vieux Desert), 


Gaulthier, trader, 381 
Gaultier, Magdalene, 427 
Gaultier, Marie, 427 
Gaultier, Rene, 427 
Gaultier, Pierre, 427 
Gauss Lake, 224 

Generations, how counted by Ojib- 
ways, 89 

Gladwyn, Major, 201 

God, 0"jibway ideas of, 55, 59, 63, 64 

Good Road band, Dakotas, 156 

Gorrel, Lt., 439 

Graham, Duncan, 465 

Grand Island, 243 

Grand Portage, 52, 84, 86, 129, 137, 
140, 143, 177, 189, 219, 243, 262, 
281, 288, 292, 321, 378, 382 

Gravier, Father, 32 

Great Britain, 378. 379 

Great Buffalo, Ojibwav chief, 48, 86, 
147, 221, 246 

Great Cloud (Keche - aun - oguet), 
Ojibway Chief, 370 

Great Lake. See Winnipeg. 

Great Spirit, ideas of, 58, 59, 63, 64, 
87, 93, 99, 117, 198, 244 

Greeley, Elam, 471 

Green, Rev. Beriah, 12 

Green Bav, Wis., 32, 33, 37, 43, 209, 
315, 331, 332 

Gregory, fur trader, 380 

Gray Iron's Band, Dakotas, 156 

Groseilliers, early explorer, 401, 402, 
403, 407, 414 

Gros Ventres, the, 178, 179, 181, 

Gulf of Mexico, 279 

Gull Lake, 14. 38, 117, 178, ISO, 224, 

263, 266, 349, 352, 366, 367 
Gull River, 224 

Hainault, Elizabeth, 401 

Hainault, Madeleine, 401 

Hale, Horatio, quoted, 42 

Hall, Rev. Sherman, missionary, 

406, 464 
Hanks, Lt. Porter, 460 
Harmer, Fort, 32 
Harris, early trader, 450 



Harrisse, editor of Du Luth's letter, 

Hartford, Conn., 9 
Haslet, Colonel, 444 
Hawley, far trader, 382 
Hay River, Wis., 313, 320 
Hays, I. P., Indian agent, 14 
Healing sick, Ojibway plan, 100 
Heaven, Ojibway idea of, 73 
Hebrews, the, 53, 65, 67, 75 
Hennepin, Father, 116, 155, 156, 

Henry, Alex., trader, 99, 181, 196, 
204, 213, 215, 217, 221, 378, 441, 

Henry, his work quoted, 10, 256, 
279, 280, 290, 293 

Henry (of Northwest Company), 
292, 450, 454 

Heraldry, European, totemic in cha- 
racter, 35 

History of Ojibways known only five 
centuries, 76 

Holcomb, Win., 492 

Hole-in-day, elder, 47, 353, 354 

Hole-in-day, younger, 49 

Holiday, John, trader, 382, 467 

Holliday, Wra., trader, 392 

Holmes, Major, 461 

Howard, Captain, 442 

Howe, General, 444 

Hudson Bay Company, 70, 138, 189, 
279, 349, 3S0, 381 

Hughes, killed at Red Lake, 456, 

Huron, Lake, 80, 99, 147, 194, 196, 

Hurons, tribe of, 116, 144, 400, 405, 

I-aub-aus, Ojibway chief. 165, 335 
Illinois tribe, 33, 116, 218, 406 
Improvidence of fur traders, 11 
Indian race of U. S. disappearing, 

Indian Territory, 32 
Indians, their summer customs, 251 
Indians misrepresented as morose, 

Initiation into the Medawe rites. 

See Medawe. 
Intermarriage between whites and 

Ojibwaysri95, 255, 325, 385 
Intermarriage between Dakotas and i 

Ojibways, 158, 164, 171, 219, 270 i 

Interpreter, J. B. Cadotte's value, 
116, 293 

Iowa, Sacs and Foxes cede lands, 32 
Iron River, 426 

Iroquois, the, 42, 146, 147, 14S, 280 
Iroquois Point, battle of, 403 
Irving, Washington, 26 
Islands, Ojibways occupy for safety, 

Isle aux Outards, 214 

Isle de Tour, or St. Michel, 321 

Isle Drummond, 372 

Isle la Pointe. See Chagouamigon. 

Isle la Ronde, 405 

Isle St. Michel, 405, 406 

Isle Royale, 99 

Israel, ten lost tribes of, 62, 67, 71, 

Israelitish customs similar to Ojib- 
way, 53, 65, 67, 68, 75 

Jefferson, Thomas, censure of La 

Corne, 429 
Jenette [or Jamett], Lieut., killed 

at Mackinaw, 205, 440 
Jesuit Relations quoted, 32 
Jesuit missions, 26, 57, 113, 114, 


Jesuits and beaver trade, 414 
Jews. See Hebrews. 
Jobin, trader, killed, 420 
Johnson, Sir Wm., 4, 210, 217, 218, 

220, 398, 438 
Johnson, John, 254, 382, 446, 447, 

448, 460, 493 
Joliet, Sieur, 408 
Joseph, a French trader, 141 
Jump River, 301 

Ka-dow-aub-e-da. See Broken Tooth.. 
Ka-gua-clash, Ojibway chief, 335 
Ka-nim-dum-a- win-so, Ojibwa chief, 

Ka-ka-ke (Hawk), Ojibway chief, 
49, 193 

Kaministigova, or Kaministiquia, 

292, 422, 423 
Kane, Paul, an artist, 69 
Kansas, 32 

Kaposia, 156; battle of, 492; band, 
Dakotas, 156 

Kaskaskias, the, 218 

Kay, early trader, 450 

Keating, historian of Long's Expe- 
dition, 406 



Ke-che-aun-o-guet (Great Cloud), 

Ojibway chief, 370 
Ke-che-mun-e-do (Great Spirit), 64 
Ke-che-ne-zuh-yauh, Ojibway chief, 

131, 132, 316 
Ke-che-puk-wai-wah Lake, Wis., 314 
Ke-che- wash-keenh. See Great 


Ke-che-waub-ish-ash. See Big Mar- 

Kewaynokwut, 467 
Keweenaw, 412, 424, 427 
Ke-dug-a-le-shew (Speckled Lynx), 

Ojibway chief, 295, 319 
Keesh-ke-mun (Sharpened Stone), 

Ojibway chief, 48, 192, 318, 319, 

325, 372, 375, 391 
Ke-nis-ten-o-ag, or Kenisteno, the 

Crees, 33, 84, 136, 138, 139, 140, 

179, ISO, 184, 185, 189, 261, 262, 

323, 337, 356, 378, 379 
Kirk, Sir John, 401 
Ki-yuk-sa Band, Dakotas, 156 
Knife Lake, 172, 223, 335 
Knife River, 181 

Kuk-ke-wa-on-an-ing (L'Ance), 243 

10, 39, 191, 193, 292, 294, 299, 300, 
301, 305, 310, 314, 318, 319, 320, 
321, 323, 324, 325, 381, 382, 383, 
384, 390 

La Cloche Island, 196, 430 

Lac du Flambeau, Wis.. 10, 47, 191, 
192, 193, 299, 300, 301, 314, 317, 
318, 319, 326, 382, 383, 384, 389, 

Lac du Flambeau Band, 48, 192 
Lac la Folle. See Praii-ie Rice 

La Corne, de St. Luc, notice of, 429 
La Corne, the elder, 432 
La Croix, a trader, 460 
La Crosse, 32 

Lac Shatac, 191, 294, 314, 319 
La Fortune, 412 

La Harpe, Bernard de, quoted, 163 
Lahontan, visits Sault Ste. Marie, 

416 ; burns Fort St. Joseph, 417 
La Jonquiere, Gov. of Canada, 433 
Lake Erie, 247 

Lake Michigan, 82, 149, 192, 199, 

Lake of Two Mountains, Canada, 

Lake of the Woods, 37, 256; trading 

post on, 428 ; massacre at, 428 
Lake Pepin, 156, 164, 303, 390, 391 
Lake Superior. 4, 9, 10, 11, 25, 37, 
38, 40, 46, 52, 81, 83, 86, 95, 98, 
99, 115, 116, 123, 124, 130, 137, 
138, 141, 147, 155, 157, 163, 166, 
183, 1S5, 189, 190, 193, 195, 209, 
210, 219, 252, 262, 2S1, 288, 292, 
304, 317, 318, 321, 325, 331, 344, 
348, 368, 369, 372, 376, 378, 379, 
3S1, 3S9, 392 
Lake Winnebago, 33 
Lake Winnipeg Indians, A. D. 1736, 

Landre, trader's clerk, 296 
Langlade, French trader, 208, 436, 

Languages, how differing, 34 
Laninan, Charles, quoted, 114 
La Node, St. Robertel, 423, 424 
L'Anse Bay, 86 
La Plante," 432 

La Pointe, or Chagouamigon, 9, 10, 
11, 12, 13, 38, 48, 52, 79, 81, 86, 
90, 127, 131, 191, 192, 193, 195, 
210, 218, 219, 221, 243, 252, 259, 
282, 300, 317, 321, 324, 325, 326. 
372, 383, 384, 393 
La Pointe band, 48 
La Pointe Island, 96, 99, 101, 102, 
104, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 118, 
121, 126, 140, 141, 405, 406, 407, 
431, 447, 463, 464, 494 
La Pointe town, 117, 119, 124, 147, 

La Pointe du St. Esprit, 405 
La Ronde family, 426 
La Ronde Island, 405 
La Ronde, Sieur, at Chagouamigon, 
426 ; seeks for copper, 426, 472 ; 
builds sailing-vessel on Lake Su- 
perior, 426 ; sickness of, 426 
La Ronde, Ensign, 426 
La Roque, trader, 303, 304 
La Salle, quoted, 156 ; at Sault Ste. 
Marie, 409 ; mentions Ojibways, 

Leaf Lake, 338, 360, 370 
Leaf River, 282, 287, 326, 370 
! Le Boerne (Bohesme), a lay Jesuit, 
censured by Gov. Frontenae, 409 
Le Bud-ee, Ojibway warrior, 313, 

Lee, Arthur, of Va., 4 



Leech Lake, 3, 11, 17, 38, 39, 49, 50, 
175, 178, 1S3, 184, 185, 224, 225, 
256, 257, 262, 263, 271, 281, 282, 
288, 292, 324, 326, 336, 343, 350, 
369, 371, 376 ; Pike visits, 458; 
Boutwell, do., 478, 482 ; Nicollet, 
do., 482 

Le France, Joseph, visits Winnipeg, 

Legardeur, Jacques, Sieur St. Pierre, 

Legardeur, Louis. See Repcntigny. 
Legardeur, Paul, Sieur St. Pierre, 

Legend of slain warrior at Crow 

Wing, 232 
Legend of Yellow Hair, 269 
Legend. See also Tradition. 
Legislature, Minna., Warren elected 

to, 14 

Le Maire, murdered by Ojibways, 

Lenni Lenape, the, 56, 57 
Lesley, Lt., 440 

Le Sueur, the explorer, 157, 162, 

163, 419, 420 
Libby, a whiskey seller, 489 
Libraries, public, want of, in Minna., 

17, 26 

Little Crow, or "Big Thunder," a 

Dakota chief, 492, 493 
Little Eddy, Ojibway warrior, 393 
Liquor drinking among Indians, 


Lodge, council, how built, 51 
Lodge, medicine, 66, 77 
Longeuil, Gov., addresses Ojibways, 

Longevity, more common formerly 
than now, 101, 102 

Long Knife, Indian name for Yan- 
kees, 127 

Longlade. See Lanqlade. 

Long Lake, Wis., 191, 243 

Loner Prairie, Minn., 266, 267, 270, 
272, 344, 352, 359 

Loon Totem, 45, 46, 48, 86, 87, 88, 
89, 127, 317 

Louvigny at Mackinaw, 417 

McOillis, Hugh, of N. W. Co., 381, 

McGillivary, Wra.. 292. 380, 477 
Mck'enzie, Sir Alex., 290, 292, 293, 
294, 380 

McKenzie, R., 292 

McKenney, T. L., 445, 447 

McMahon, surgeon, U. S. A., 475 

McTavish, trader, 3S0 

Mackinaw (or Michilimackinac), 11, 
12, 14, 124, 126, 134, 141, 147, 194, 
200, 214, 215, 216, 226, 259, 262, 
280, 288, 355, 369, 372, 384,. 386, 
392; on mainland, described by 
Cadillac, 417 ; captured by Ojib- 
wavs, 205, 439 ; occupied by En- 
glish, 442 

Mackinaw Island, captured by the 
English, A.D. 1812, 459 

Macons, a trader, 412 

Madeline Island, 321 

Magruder, Lt. W. B., 502 

Maheengun, Wolf Totem, 45, 49, 319 

Ma-mong-e-se-do (Big Foot), Ojib- 
way chief, 52, 195," 218, 219, 220, 
243, 248 

Manabosho, Ojibway deity, 27, 56, 

57, 79, 102 
Mandans, the, 1S1 
Manitowish, 300 

Map, of Lake Superior (1670-71). 
405 ; of N. Bellin (1744), 405, 426 ; 
of De L'Isle, 405,424; of Veran- 
derie, 428 
Maple Sugar, 186, 263 
Margry papers, quoted, 10 
Marquette, 116, 407 
j Marriage, forbidden between same 
j totems, 35, 42 

! Marten Totem, 45, 50, 51, 86, 87, 94, 

130, 159, 318 
[ Martin, Abraham, pilot, 401 
I Masonic order, 42, 66 
I Massacre at Fort Mackinaw, 204 
! Matchikiwish, Ojibway chief, 216, 
439, 440 
Maumies. See Miamis. 
Mayflower, the, 9, 30 
Mde wakantons, the, 156, 162, 223, 

232, 359 
Measles, the, 335 

Medal, golden, given to Ke-che-ne- 

zuh-yauh, 317 
Medawe rite, 46. 55, 5£, 64, 66, bt, 

77, 99, 100, 191, 393, 2U5, 322 
Medawegis, sacred emblem of Medaw« 

rite, 78 

Medicine Bag, Ojibway, 68, 77, 3-o 
! Medicine, grand (Medawewin), 65 
; Medicine lodge, described, 77 




Medicine men, healing sick, 100 ; 

poisoners, 109, 270, 324 
Memoir of W. W. Warren, 9 
Menard, Jesuit missionary, 404 
Mendota, Minn., 156, 162 
Menominees, 33, 371 
Menominee River, 304, 309 
Merman, a Dakota symbol, 43, 165 
Miamis (Omaumees), 33, 162, 218 
Michigan, 32, 37, 369, 386 
Michilimackinac. See Mackinaw. 
Migrations of the Ojibways, 91 
MilleLacs (Lake Buade),49, 50, 155, 

157, 159, 160, 163, 165, 176, 178, 

180, 223, 243, 335, 345, 351, 359 
Milwaukee, Wis., 32 
Milwaukee River, 33 
Min-ah-ig-wan-tig (Drinking Wood), 

Ojibway warrior, 224 
Mines, ancient. See Copper. 
Minnesota, 14, 17, 26, 37, 38, 137, 

155, 292, 379, 3S6 
Minnesota Historical Society, 18 ; 

officers and members of, 513 
Minnesota Historical Collections, 

quoted, 369 
Minnesota River, 156, 185, 232, 236, 

365, 367 

Min-ne-weh-na, Ojibwav chief, 199, 

200, 206, 207, 210 
Mis-ko-mun-e-dous (Little Red 

Spirit), Ojibway chief, 31S 
Missions, A. B. C. F. M., 140 
Mission school at xMackinaw, 386 ; 

at Pokeguma, 491 
Missisaukie, Straits of Niagara, 214 
Mississippi River, 108, 153, 155, 156, 

157, 163, 175, 185, 189, 191, 210, 

212, 219, 222, 225, 226, 227, 228, 

235, 242, 247, 263, 270, 279, 280. 

292, 299, 305, 317, 328, 331, 344, 

355, 379 
Mississippi River band, 39 
Missouri River, 3, 32, 68, 160, 178, 

179, 181, 261 
Mixed bloods, 279, 386. 393 
Moccasin, peculiarity of the Ojibway, 


Mogras, Jacques, 408 
Mon-ing-wun-a-kaun-ing. See La 

Pointe Island. 
Moningwunakauning, meaning of 

the name, 96 
Mon-so-ne (Moose Tail), Ojibway 

chief, 318, 327 

Mon-so-bou-dah, Ojibway chief, 391, 

Montcalm, Gen., 195, 220 

Montreal, 31, 80, 105, 116, 126, 134, 
143, 144, 145, 181, 194, 195, 205, 
209, 215, 220, 221, 252, 279, 280, 
290, 378, 381 

Morals of the Ojibways, deteriorat- 
ing, 101 

Moreau, Pierre, 408 

Morrison, Allan, 228, 381 

Morrison. Wm, 115, 145, 381, 382, 
383, 431 

Moose, how caught, 97, 176, 253 

Moose totem, 50, 51, 86, 87 

Mounds, supposed, only earth wig- 
wams, 162, 179, 180, 182 

Mourning among Ojibways, 264 

Mousoneeg, family of Totems, 50 

Mud Lake, near Ft. Snelling, 487 

Muk-ud-a-shib (Black Duck), Ojib- 
way chief, 50 

Mundamin, Indian corn, 97 

Munduas, the, 50, 91 

Mun-o-min-i-ka-she (Rice Maker), 
49, 335 

Murder, among Indians, 139 
Murder of a French trader and 

family, 141 
Murder of four white men, 390 
Murderer, how treated by the Hu- 

rons, 144 
Murderer, Indian, punished 
Muscalonge, 175 

Musk-keeg-oes, or Swamp People, 33, 
45, 85, 378 

Na-gu-on-a-be (Feathers end), Ojib- 
way chief, 49, 165, 335 

Naudowavs, or Naudowaisr (Iro- 
quois),"^, 119, 146, 147, 148 

Naudowasewug, or Adders (Dako- 
tas), 72, S3 

Negro, slaves, emancipation of, 23 

Neill, Rev. E. D., officiates at Mr. 
Warren's funeral, IS ; foot-notes 
by, 23, 31, 32, 33, 42, 69, 95, 98, 
99, 115, 116, 117, 131, 145, 148, 
156, 157, 162, 164, 172, 181, 247, 
256, 279, 2S1, 317, 321, 369 ; his 
history quoted, 156, 292. 369 ; 
chapter on Ojibways and the fur- 
trade, 395 to 509 

Nelson's River, 414 

Nemaha River, 33 



Neniitsakouat, or Bois Brule River, 

Nepigon, 412, 417, 426, 431 

Nepissings, 403 

New York City, 18 

New York colonial :locuments quoted, 

32, 247 
Niagara, 194 

Niagara surrendered by French, 438 
Niagara, straits of, 214, 216 
Nicollet, Jean, early explorer, 400, 
423, 428 

Nicollet, Jean N., CJ. S. Geologist, 
quoted, 32, 185, 257, 308, 342, 557, 
482, 483 

Nicollet, Margaret, 42S 

Nig-gig (the Otter), Ojihway war- 
rior, 325 

No-din (Ojibway chief), 335 

No-ka (or Bear Totem), 49 

No-ka, Ojibway chief, 235, 236, 266 

Noliu, Augustin, 381, 460 

Nonen, wife of Wa-wa-tam, 214 

Northern Ojibways, language of, 85 ; 
less warlike than others, 86 

Northwest County of Montreal, 1S1, 
288, 290, 291, 294, 321, 349, 350, 
378, 379, 380, 381, 382, 450, 452, 

Noyelle, deputy at Mackinaw, 432 
Nub-o-beence (Little Broth), 389 
Nug-an-ash, Ojibway warrior, 361 
Nug-aun-ub (Sitting-ahead), Ojib- 
way chief, 50, 130 
Numakagun River, 243, 300, 326 

Oakes, Charles H., trader, 384 
Oak Grove band, Dakotas, 156 
Oak Point, 326 

Ochunkraw. See Winnebagoes. 
O-dah-waug. See Ottaicays. 
Odish-quag-um-eeg, 33 
Odjibwa, how pronounced. 35 
Odugameeg. See Odugamies. 
Odugamies (Foxes), 32, 33, 95, 148, 

152, 154, 162, 176, ISO, 190, 191. 

193, 242, 244, 245, 246, 247, 250, 

331, 405 

Oge-mah-mi-jew (Chiefs Mountain), 

Ogilvys, fur traders, 380 
Ohio River, 32 

Ojibway, supposed meaning, 36, 398; 
how correctly spelled, 37 ; etymo- 
logy of the name, 82 ; how derived, 


107 ; name usually spelled "Chip- 
pewa," 37 
Ojibways, the : the principal branch 
of the Algic race, 31 ; the origin 
of, 54, 55, 61 ; their chronology, 
90 ; cause of emigration from the 
Atlantic, 82 ; where located, 37 ; 
minor divisions into bands, 38, 39, 
83 ; their position, numbers, etc. 
(1851), 35 ; the northern division, 
language, etc., 85 ; general ac- 
count of (in 1851), 29 ; total popu- 
lation 20,000, 38 ; their domestic 
implements, 97 ; did not work cop- 
per mines, 99 ; found a town on 
La Pointe Island, 96 ; perpetual 
fire kept up there, 99 ; lived there 
by fishing, 97 ; their dispersion 
from La Pointe, 10S, 110, 121 ; 
prevented from joining Pontiac, 
211 ; loyal to the U. S. in 1812, 
36S ; had firearms prior to the 
Dakotas, 120 ; make peace truces 
with the Dakotas, 267 ; are better 
fighters in the forest than on 
prairie, 312; their changing habits, 
25 ; did they practise cannibalism, 
109 ; partial to the French people, 
133, 134; learned custom of tor- 
ture from the Foxes, 106 ; inhabit 
a country of lakes, rivers, and 
forests, 39 ; their totemic system, 
34; burial rites of, 72; customs 
of mourning, 264 ; have clear idea 
of creator, 63 ; their religious cus- 
toms, 100; belief in future state, 
72 ; their morals once purer than 
now, 101 ; their final extinction 
inevitable, 72; early mention of, 
39S ; at Chagouamigon Bay, 403 ; 
defeat Iroquois at Lake Superior, 
404 ; in 1670 at Sault Ste. Marie, 
406 ; in council with St. Lusson, 
408 ; settle at Chagouamigon, 408, 
420 ; at peace in 1679 with Sioux, 
410 ; executed for killing French- 
men, 411 ; confer with Frontenac, 
420 ; addressed by Gov. Longeuil, 
427; census of, A. D. 1736, 427; 
at Ticonderoga, 432 ; at Niagara, 
438 ; capture Mackinaw, 439 ; 
confer with Sir W. Johnson, 440 ; 
with Gen. Bradstreet, 441 ; visit 
to Johnson Hall, 444 ; attack Sioux 
A. D. 1766, 445 ; pillagers, 446 ; 



fight Sioux A. D. 1798, 452 ; en- 
gagement at Cheyenne River, 453; 
at Tongue River, 454 ; census in 
180(3, 459; fight in 1818 with Sioux, 
461 ; visit Agent Taliaferro in 
A. D. 1820, 465 ; council of 1823 
with Sioux, 4b' 5 ; make a treaty 
at Prairie du Chien, 467 ; at Fond 
du Lac, 470 ; visit Fort Snelling, 
474 ; attacked in 1827 by Sioux, 
475 ; kill captured Sioux, 475 ; 
dance the peace dance, 476 ; skir- 
mish in lb32 with Sioux, 478 ; of 
1833 with Sioux, 482 ; attacked at 
Pokeguma, 491 ; in 1883 in Min- 
nesota, 507 ; in Wisconsin, 508 ; 
in Michigan, 508 ; in Canada, 509 

Okeenakeequid, 472 

Omaumee, name given Mille Lacs 
Indians, 162 

O-maum-eeg. See Maimis. 

O-mig-aun-dib (Sore Head), Ojibway 
chief, 171, 172 

Omunomineeg. See Menominees. 

O-mush-kas-ug, war on the, 84 

O-mush-ke-goag, or Swampies. See 

Ontonagon River, 99, 104, 190, 221, 
389, 393 

Origin of red race, 54 

Origin of red race possibly from 
Asia, 61 

Origin of the Ojibways, 54, 55, 61 
Osage River, 33 

O-saug-ees (Saukies, or Sacs), 32, 
33, 346, 153, 154, 201, 202, 218, 
242, 247, 265, 405 

Osh-ka-ba-wis, pipe bearer, 318 

Otter, sacred, said to have built 
sand bar at mouth of St. Louis 
River, 81 

Otter Tail Creek, 360 

Otter Tail Lake, 38, 39, 287, 356, 
360, 361 

Ottaway, origin of name, 82 

Ottawa Lake. See Lac Coutereille. 

Ottawa River, 146, 147 

Ottawas (Outawas), the, 31, 43, 69, 
81, 82, 83, 116, 124, 130, 146, 149, 
200, 209, 218, 247, 355, 369, 372, 
405, 407, 413, 416, 417 ; leave 
Chagouamigon, 407 ; the band Du 
Sable, 413 ; the band Nassaoua- 
kiton, 405 ; the Sinagos band, 405, 

Ounangisse, Chief of Pottawatomies, 

Ousakis. See Osaugies. 
Outaganiis. See Odugamies. 
Outuacs. See Ottawas. 

Pachot, Sieur, visits the Sioux, 424 

Pangman, 380 

Paris, 98, 99 
i Pauotigoueieuhak, or Ojibways, 397 
I Patridge or Pena River, 275 
I Peace truces between Dakotas and 
J Ojibways, 1S8, 267, 304, 365, 476 

Pegano. See Blackfeet. 

Pelican Lake, Wis., 192, 309 

Pelican Lake band, 315 

Pembina, 184, 185, 189, 287, 2S8, 
354, 358 

Pembina River, early posts at, 452, 

Pembina band, 40, 48 
Pena or Patridge River, 275 
Penalty, death, for marrying same 

totem, etc., 42 
Penn, W T m., 30 
| Peorias, the, 218 
j Pere or Perray River, 411 
I Pere, the voyagenr, 411, 413 
Perrault, old trader, 450 
Perrot, Nicholas, quoted, 148, 155, 

157, 408, 411, 418 
Philadelphia, 30 
Pickette, trader, 2S0 
Pictured Rocks, 86, 323 
Pigeon River, 52, 83, 137, 262, 292, 

378, 379 
Pike, Lieut. Z. M., 349, 457 
Pike's Rapids, 349 
Pilgrim fathers, 30 
Pillagers, band of, 17, 39, 40, 45, 

138, 178, 256, 259, 260, 270, 275, 

283, 336, 344, 349, 369, 376, 387, 


Pillage Creek, 259 
Pine River, 180 
Pineries, Wisconsin, 40 
Piouabic, meaning of, 426 
Piouabic River, 426 
Pipe bearer, Blackfeet, 68 ; Ojibway, 

Pipestone quarry, 111 

Platte River, 359, 364 

Plymouth, Mass., 30 

Plympton, Major, U. S. A., 487, 488 

Pocahontas, 30 



Po-da-waud-uni-eeg. See Pottawa- 

Poinsett, U. S. Sec. of War, 490 

Point Douglas, 167, 173 

Point Iroquois, how named, 147 

Point Prescott, 167 

Poisoning for revenge by medicine 

men, 270, 324 
Pokeguma, 165, 171, 172, 175, 326, 

335 ; mission at, 491 ; battle of, 


Pokaguma Falls, 225, 326 

Pomme de Terre River fight, 461 

Pond, fur trader, 380 

Pond, Rev. Gideon H., 486 

Pond, Rev. S. W., 4S7 

Pontiac, 149, 199, 200, 210, 214, 218, 

439, 440 
Poor, Sir Edward, 69 
Portage, 3S 
Pothier, a trader, 460 
Pottawatoniies, 32, 43, 81, 82, 83, 

124, 146, 218, 369, 372 
Potter, Nathaniel, visits Ojibways, 


Poux, contraction for Pouteaoutin, 

Pow-hat-tan, 30 
Prairie du Chien, 317, 390, 391 
Prairie portage, 281, 287, 288 
Preston, English ambassador at 

Paris, notices Groseilliers and Ra- 

disson, 414 
Prairie Rice Lake, 308, 310, 313 
Price, Mrs. E. B., 18 
Prices paid for beaver, 415 
Priesthood among Ojibways. See 

Medicine Men. 
Prophet, the Shawano, 118, 320, 321, 


Prophet, Ojibwa, prediction by, 

Puk-wah, Rice Lake, ISO 
Puk-wah-wan-uh, 119 

Quebec, 30, 31, 99, 116, 122, 123, 
126, 130, 134, 144, 194, 195, 220, 

Que-wis-aus (Little Boy) Lake, 225 

Rabbit Lake, Minn., 38 
Race, human, origin of, 60 
Radisson, Sieur, notice of, 401 ; visit 
to France, 414 

| Radisson, Margaret, 401 
t Rainy Lake, 38, 84, 184, 185, 189, 
262, 281, 288, 427 

Ramsey, Gov. Alex., gives medal, 
67 ; on word Ojibway, 399 ; visits 
the Ojibway country, 499 ; holds 
council at Fort Snelling, 500 

Randin, Frontenac's engineer, visits 
extremity of Lake Superior, 409 

Raratoans (People of the Falls), 

Rasle, a voyageur, 281, 28*4 

Red Cedar Lake, 191 

Red Cedar River, Wis. (or Meno- 
minee), 309, 320 

Red Lake, Minn., 38, 178, 185, 189, 
281, 287, 289, 343, 356, 363, 364 ; 
first marked on a map, 428 ; trader 
killed at, 456 

Red Lake band, 40, 180 

Red race disappearing, 23, 31 

Red race, their character not under- 
stood, 24 

Red race to be ranged under several 
types, 29 

Red race, origin of, 54 

Red race, tradition regarding crea- 
tion of, 58 

Red race, did they descend from the 
Hebrews ? 62 

Red River, 38, 40, 47, 50, 138, 185, 
261, 279, 281, 287, 288, 337, 355, 
356, 358, 362, 364, 378, 428 

Red post, or stake, striking the, 77, 
144. 332 

Red Wing, Minn., 156, 303 

Red Wood River, 156 

Reindeer Totem, 50, 52, 219 

Relationship', in totemic system, 

Religion. See Medawe. 
Religion, 63, 72, 322 
Religion, Christian, brought to Ojib- 
ways, 57 

Renards, or Foxes. See Odugamies. 

Renville, trader, 366 

Repentigny, Chevalier de, at Macki- 
naw, 436 ; notice of, 433 ; at Sault 
Ste. Marie, 433 ; his fort, 434, 435; 
service in French and English 
war, 437 ; subsequent life, 437, 

Revenge, blood for blood, 84 
Revolutionary war, 9 



Reyaulm, trader, 2S0 

Rice, Hon. Henry M., gives manu- 
script, 3 ; conducts treaty at Fond 
du Lac, 14, 497 ; aids Mr. Warren 
in his work, 18 ; furnishes mate- 
rial for Warren's memoir, 20 

Rice Lakes, 162, 164, 165, 171, 172, 

Rice makers, band, 38 

Rice, wild, people. See Menominees. 

Rice, wild, gathering, 40, 175, 186, 

266, 309 
Rites, of Medawe. See Medaive. 
Roasting captives, 36, 82, 95, 106, 


Roberts, trader, 280 

Roberts, Capt. Charles, 460 

Robertson, Col. D. A., 15, 29- 

Rock Island, 32 

Rocky Mountains, 33